The government aims to create 2 million jobs before the 2024 general elections, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has reportedly told Bloomberg.
South Africa’s unemployment rate is currently a staggering 34.5 percent, with the expanded definition pegged at 45.5 percent.
2 million jobs target
“Whether or not that is achievable, I don’t know,” Nxesi told the publication. 2 million is estimated to be the number of people who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, Statistics South Africa announced that South Africa’s economy had recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2021. However, employment figures have lagged behind.
Growth and jobs face headwinds ahead as the economy endures a prolonged bout of stage 4 load shedding. International factors have also pushed up the cost of living, further depressing consumer sentiment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC therefore face the daunting task of turning around the economy before the 2024 elections when the party could dip below 50 percent in electoral support.
Besides interventions to unlock more private investments in energy, infrastructure, and ports and rail systems, Ramaphosa hopes to seal a “social compact” between business, labour, government and civil society to spark higher levels of economic growth.
“This work will build on the foundation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which remains our common programme to rebuild the economy,” Ramaphosa said in his State of the Nation Address in February.
The discussions, which have taken longer than the 100 days the President had anticipated, are taking place at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).