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Weak economic growth exacerbating unemployment: Experts
11 February 2020, 10:14 PM

Economic experts say while there are other factors contributing to South Africa’s unemployment rate, the current weak economic growth is the main contributor.

Statistics South Africa on Tuesday released the fourth quarter Labour Force Survey which indicates that the unemployment rate remains at 29.1%.

Economists.co.za’s Chief Economist Mike Schussler says this is a high number. “I think normally in the fourth quarter we get a lot of temporary employment, so we see the retail sector take on more people to help with sales. We also see the hotel industry and also the agriculture industry when starting planting season (employing people).

“Normally we create 120 000 to 140 000 jobs in the fourth quarter and this time around we only created an extra 45 000 jobs. So it seems to me that the numbers are going to start getting worse in the first quarter because that is when we start to see school leavers entering the job market,” Schussler explains.

Chief Operating Officer at Centre for Risk Analysis David Ansara shares the same sentiment. Ansara says this is an extremely high level of unemployment compared to other developing economies.

“The longer term trend is negative. What we see is a combination of factors; the first is low economic growth, the unemployment numbers are very tied to the overall GDP figures. The South African Reserve Bank recently released an estimate that they expect 2019‘s growth to be 0.4% and they are looking on the upside 1.2% annual economic growth for 2020. Those low levels of economic growth are really not enough to increase job creation.”

In the video below, recently unemployed queue at the Department of Labour to claim unemployment insurance benefits: 

 

The Labour Force Survey revealed that the trade, manufacturing and utilities sectors shed more jobs in the fourth quarter. Ansara says the structure of the South African economy has over the past decades taken another shape which speaks to job losses in these sectors.

“If we go back to 1994, you will see that it was very much reliant on the primary industries, so if you look at mining, agriculture, mining was like 11% of the total of employment but if you look at manufacturing it was 27%, but fast forward to today and you have mining pretty much at half the proportion, 4.6%, manufacturing at about 12%. The economy has become much more focused on the tertiary sector, much more services oriented, areas like telecommunications, retail sector , financial services, banking, insurance. This means that workers need to have much high levels of literacy, numeracy and they need to be adequately trained.”

In the audio clip below, Ansara looks into how the South African economy has changed: 

‘Improved education system’

According to Distinguished Research Specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council, Dr Vijay Reddy, an improved education system is key to ensuring that there are people with much-needed skills.

“The jobs that are quite in demand are those that have some sort of Maths and Science basics and we know that our Maths and Science performance in schools is not very high which means that we do not graduate enough people out of the universities and TVET colleges with science, engineering and technology qualifications which means we don’t have enough people to fill the vacancies in the labour market for these kinds of jobs. “

Government has been focussing on securing investment in order to stimulate economic growth and deal with unemployment.  In November 2019, the South African Investment Summit was hailed a success, managing to attract R1.2 trillion in new investments. Reddy says all sectors of the society should play a role in dealing unemployment.

“It is a huge problem in that there about 10 million people who are unemployed, I don’t think that we should underestimate the size of the issue at the moment. I don’t think any one sector can take the responsibility, it has to be government, civil society, business sector, it has to be a joined (effort), it cannot be just on government.”

In the audio clip below, Reddy explains the kind of skills that the economy needs: 

Red tape

Schussler says South Africa needs to get rid of the red tape experienced by the business sector as another solution to unemployment. “We need to learn to become a lot more friendly with business. We have seen for example a country such as Greece who had very left-wing policies, they moved a lot close to the business , became a lot more business friendly and we saw their unemployment rate drop from over 28%  to 16.1%  in a matter of 12  years. So it can be done, the same as Spain and Portugal. We need to become more friendly to business, more attractive to investment, friendly to entrepreneurs.”  In the audio clip below, Schussler highlights some of the solutions to unemployment. 

The graphic below shows the unemployment rate in different quarters of 2019: 


Unemployment Rate in South Africa by SABC Digital News

 

 

 

 

Politicians condemn murder of up-and-coming musician Lindokuhle Cele
10 February 2020, 8:48 PM

The brutal murder of up-and-coming musician Lindokuhle Cele has been denounced by politicians who attended the first court appearance of the alleged murderer in the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court in the south of Durban.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza has described the murder as a homophobic attack.

The Umlazi Magistrate’s Court was packed to capacity as family members of Lindokuhle Cele and family of the murder accused, 23-year old, Mvuyisi Noguda attended Noguda’s first court appearance.

Both Noguda’s hands were bandaged when he appeared in the dock. Khoza attended the court proceedings and she criticised the brutal killing of Cele.

“It is unfair to our society that there is something that has gone wrong in our society, but we want to send a message to some other people who think of doing the same and say we should lay this to rest. At no stage can we allow people to do this and everyone has the right to choose what life he wants to live.”

Khoza says the department will organise awareness campaigns to educate community about same sexuality.  “We are as the Department  of Social Development going to have programmes that educate our community in accepting and teach people that they have right to live and we need to support them as communities.”

Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament Martin Meyer also attended the case and says people must accept gay people and respect their rights.

“From the remarks the accused made after killing the victim, it is clear that the sexuality of the victim was a big motivator of this crime, it is something the DA concretise. We need to work together as civil society and political parties to take away the fear of gay communities and make them proud to walk in the street. Even you believe that gay is a sin but there is no need for violence against gay community.”

News of Cele’s murder was one of the top trending Twitter hashtags Justice4Lindo at the weekend. The case was postponed to 17 February for a bail application.

Eskom says will respect court’s decision on electricity tariffs
10 February 2020, 7:21 PM

Eskom says it would respect the High Court’s decision to reject its urgent bid to increase electricity tariff by 16% over the next two years.  The heavily indebted power utility however added that it was encouraged by the judge’s statement that there was merit to its case.

It says the judge indicated that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) violated the basic principle of accounting by treating an equity injection as revenue.

Eskom brought an urgent application to have Nersa’s increases of 8.10% and 5.22% over the next two years set aside.

Eskom argues that without the increases, it could default on payments to lenders, triggering the immediate payment of its national debt burden of R318 billion guaranteed by government.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has proposed that Eskom be placed under business rescue as opposed to using public servants pension funds to bailout the ailing power utility.

Fedusa says it rejects the proposal brought forward by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) which suggests that the Public Investment Corporation should step in to take on R250 billion of Eskom’s debt.

The Public Investment Corporation manages R2 trillion of government employees Pension Fund.

Fedusa says putting Eskom under business rescue will ensure that outside and undue political interference in its operations and governance is prevented.

“We cannot be using workers money as I’ve alluded earlier on to rescue Eskom nor any other state owned entity.  There has to be conditions attached to it; and what we are saying as Fedusa in particular, when it comes to the PIC and the GEPF (Government Employees Pension Fund), we have already extended via the GEPF to the tune of R85 billion. So this cannot be the only possible source of income to secure any state owned entities. So at this point in time we are calling for government to issue bonds that will support the process which is the underlying precept but essentially any kind of intervention must be taken and going for the extreme at this point in time, placing Eskom under business rescue is an option that must be exercised,” says Acting General Secretary at Fedusa, Riefdah Ajam.

In the video below, Institute of Race Relations Senior Economist analyses Cosatu’s proposal: 

Hawks seize documents as part of Mogalakwena alleged tender fraud investigation
10 February 2020, 7:06 PM

The Hawks have seized several documents as part of an investigation into alleged tender fraud and corruption at the Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Mokopane, Limpopo, on Monday.

The non-compliance in the supply chain and municipal finances resulted in the municipality incurring an unauthorised expenditure of nearly R3 billion in the last three financial years.

The embattled Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Mokopane, outside Polokwane, has been on the spotlight for the past eight years due to poor governance and maladministration. They include non-compliance in the supply-chain and municipal finances and payment of service providers who did not do any work.

Following a number of complaints by community structures and political organisations, the Hawks have seized documents at the municipality to investigate allegations of corruption and fraud.

Hawks spokesperson Matimba Maluleke is confident that they will arrest perpetrators once investigations are complete. “We are investigating the allegations of fraud and corruption at that municipality so the case has been opened. We receive a lot of complains regarding the fraud and corruption at that municipality , of course it has something to do with tender irregularities and on Friday we have seized some documents that we believe are going to assist us in our investigation and when the investigation is complete is then that we can make an arrest.”

Some councillors at the municipality say they will only be satisfied once the Hawks arrest people who are involved in fraud and corruption. Administrator, Frans Boshielo is the head of intervention at the municipality. He says they welcome efforts made by the Hawks.

“We welcome the Hawks, the Hawks have got the particular role to play, as the intervention team we have the terms of reference before us, our role is to implement those terms of reference.”

The municipal council held a special council sitting on Monday to discuss several issues including the report on the irregular expenditure. “ If there are any irregularities on those reports, this council in terms of the law cannot condone that,  what must happen is that there must be investigations on those irregularities and a report will come to council and the council will adjudicate on those reports,” says African National Congress Councillor, Malesela Sebatjane.

In 2018, the Hawks had investigated alleged irregular fuel transactions of nearly R3 million at the municipality. Four years ago, more than R5 million was stolen in the municipality’s safe.

Last week while on a fact-finding mission in the region, Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen accused the African National Congress of running a mafia state in Mogalakwena Local Municipality.  In the video below, Steenhuisen states his views about the state of Mogalakwena Local Municipality: 

Zozibini Tunzi shocked by child to teacher violence in SA schools
10 February 2020, 3:22 PM

Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi has expressed shock and dismay about the child to teacher violence in South African schools. She was addressing thousands of learners at the Canana Academy Junior Secondary School in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape.

Tunzi believes that respect should be prioritised in the country.

“It’s so unfortunate what has been happening in South Africa, watching so many students fighting with teachers, we have seen this happening right last year, we have seen this happening like many years before. This is 2020 and I am hoping that this year we can all do better and respecting each other, it goes with teachers as well because respect goes both ways, students respect teachers and teachers respect students.”

Learners could not contain their excitement when meeting Miss Universe.

Tunzi arrived in South Africa over the weekend. This is Tunzi’s first time on the African soil since being crowned Miss Universe in December.  Crowds gathered at the OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday to welcome her back.

Below is a video of the South Africans who gathered to welcome Tunzi back home: 

Earlier on Monday, Minister Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu made an announcement that President Cyril Ramaphosa has elected Tunzi as an ambassador for gender-based violence in Africa.

Below are some facts about Miss Universe: 

 

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