Stanlib’s chief economist, Kevin Lings, said he was not aware of any country regularly producing economic data with a higher unemployment rate than South Africa.
Lings was commenting on South Africa’s unemployment rate which passed the 35% threshold in the fourth quarter.
Statistics South Africa reported on Tuesday that unemployment in South Africa rose by 0.4 percentage points.
The country now has 14.5 million employees (an increase of around 262,000), while the unemployed now number 7.9 million (278,000 more since Q3 2021).
Lings told 702 that the number of people who have lost their jobs is extremely alarming.
“That’s the biggest threat. When you typically have those types of unemployment rates you tend to end up with social discord or social unrest and we’ve seen that in South Africa and I’m sure the high unemployment rate has contributed to plundering the last year.
Lings said there was a lack of special attention when it came to unemployment in the country.
“We definitely distract ourselves by looking at other issues that are important on their own, but not the most critical ones. I listen to speeches given by presidents or politicians and they end up with this wide range of priorities and in my mind they should drop all of that and have only one priority and that is to create jobs, because a Once you start creating jobs, everything else starts to line up.
The soaring unemployment rate has also raised concerns among unions.
The United Association of South Africa (Uasa) said the high unemployment rate was of most concern.
“While Uasa takes note of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed to all sectors and industries, at some point this crisis must see a turning point. Earlier this year, SONA and the national budget produced statements on how the government planned to create more jobs and see our people employed. »
“Now is the time to put all these ideas into action. We want to see the thousands of promised jobs become a reality,” Uasa said.
However, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said they were not shocked by the rise in unemployment reported by Statistics SA.
“We are not shocked because the ANC government has already said that it is not its responsibility to create jobs for South Africa’s millions of unemployed. The ANC has entrusted the white capitalist establishment with the important task of creating jobs, which is why South Africa continues to experience an employment bloodbath that is worsening poverty levels among our people.
According to Stats SA, 92.1% of the employed workforce continued to receive wages during the lockdown in the fourth quarter (92.2% in the third quarter).
Of the 14.5 million people who were employed in the fourth quarter, eight out of 10 employees (85.5%) were required to work during the nationwide lockdown by their employers.
ALSO READ: Lenasia CPF member, daughter and son-in-law to appear in court for kidnapping