The GOOD party says South Africa’s unemployment rate is proof of a “jobs bloodbath”, and one way to stave off hard lockdown is to implement vaccine mandates.
The party’s secretary-general, Brett Herron, said instead of overcoming the economic struggles brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ANC is “squandering opportunities to fix things”.
SA’s high unemployment rate
‘Jobs bloodbath’ unsustainable
Herron said “the 35% official unemployment rate – which is closer to 50% when you include those who have given up looking for work – is beyond dire”.
According to Herron, an unemployment rate as high as 35% is “economically and socially unsustainable, and has the potential to ferment conditions of instability”.
“We’ve lived through the effects of lockdown and the ruling party should work towards re-building the economy, Herron says, instead of placing “speedbumps on the road to recovery.”
Lockdown and unemployment in SA
Back in July, the University of Johannesburg’s Professor Nicholas Ngepah said lockdown doesn’t work in Southern Africa.
He said socio-economic conditions must be factored in, as the majority of people in Africa do not have access to nutrition, economic opportunities or infrastructure to survive a lockdown.
Well-off citizens can go on panic-buying sprees but poor people do not have that luxury. You cannot stock up on supplies when you are unemployed, he said.
How to stave off hard lockdown
Herron said in order to bring stability to South Africa’s economy and avoid another lockdown, we need to “rapidly increase the number of adults fully vaccinated”.
He said while the GOOD party welcomed the announcement of a vaccine mandate, “swift decisions” were needed to implement such a policy.
Vaccine mandates “rapidly increase the rates of immunisation”, Herron said, adding that South Africa “cannot afford to dawdle and risk another surge of infections”.
Renewable energy uptake
Secondly, Eskom and load shedding has to be dealt with effectively because it is hard to “create jobs in a climate of intermittent electricity failures”.
It’s vital for the energy supply to be stabilised, and for additional energy capacity to be added to the grid by means of renewable energy supply procured from independent power producers.
Herron said the need for a reliable and adequate supply of electricity should not place unemployed South Africans “at the mercy of energy supply indecision and hesitancy”.
Basic Income Grant implementation
Lastly, Herron said all adults needed access to income, and delaying the decision to implement the Basic Income Grant was “a ticking time-bomb”.
“No adult can be expected to live without access to any income. This [is] a fundamental injustice in a country with the resources South Africa has”.
He said while the debates around the basic income guarantee had dragged on long enough, South Africa wasn’t generating enough jobs to provide for its population.
“We have an obligation to provide a basic income to those who have none. Urgently,” Herron said.