Friday, 26 February 2021

Cape Town: Cabinet has expressed concern that the rate at which the South African economy creates jobs remains slower than the rate the country sheds jobs.

This comes after figures released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in the Q4 Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) revealed that the country’s unemployment rate was at 32.5%.

Addressing the media following a Cabinet meeting, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the QLFS continues to remind the country of the challenges of unemployment it faces.

“Cabinet is, however, encouraged by the green shoots that our economy continues to demonstrate amongst the current harsh economic realities,” she said.

According to the report, employment in Q4 increased by 333 000 jobs, with the formal sector contributing the largest (189 000 jobs) between October and December.

During the three months, the number of those not economically active declined by 890 000 from the previous quarter.

“Cabinet remains concerned that the rate at which the economy creates jobs remains slower than the rate the country sheds jobs by 701 000 between Quarter 3 and Quarter 4. Although Quarter 4 noted an increase in the unemployment rate, the percentage increase of 1.7% is still lower than the Quarter 3 increase of 9% to the unemployment rate,” said the Minister.

She said it was disturbing that young people constitute the largest pool of the unemployed.

“African and Coloured South Africans, as well as women, remain the most vulnerable groups in the economy of the country, and this strengthens government’s resolve to fast-track measures to support and enable the meaningful participation of youth, women and black people in the economy of the country,” she said.

This, added the Minister, was in line with government’s recommitment to economic reform and transformation made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his 2021 State of the Nation Address.

Meanwhile, Ntshavheni said Cabinet welcomed the tabling of the 2021 National Budget by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

She said it was an important part of South Africa’s open and accountable system of democracy.

“Following President Ramaphosa’ s SONA, the 2021 National Budget outlines government’s financial plan to support the implementation of the national PoA as outlined in the 2021 SONA,” said the Minister.

She said Cabinet welcomed the 2021 National Budget as the best available option in balancing fiscal sustainability while funding critical government priorities such as the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, supporting the most vulnerable in society through a comprehensive social assistance programme and the ERRP in order to rebuild the economy, support job creation and attract investment, albeit under a challenging economic environment.