I can come to no other conclusion. We now have a labour government in South Africa.
In response to my criticisms of our country’s diabolical labour laws, which have caused 7.9-million people to be unemployed according to the latest statistics, I find myself confronted in debates by representatives of labour unions, not the Ministry, or the Department of Labour, or the parliamentarians in charge of the labour portfolio in parliament who are responsible for labour legislation.
In the month of June alone I found myself on one day debating Sdumo Dlamini, President of COSATU, on Radio 702. Then it was Patrick Craven, COSATU spokesperson, on SAFM PM Live. And then Irvin Jim, Secretary General of NUMSA on SABC TV3.
A week later I debated Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of COSATU on Power FM and then the very next day again on SAFM.
Another week later I engaged with representatives of FEDUSA and AUSA on CNBC Africa.
In every one of these debates we were talking about the labour laws. But the labour unions do not make the laws. Proposed laws are generated by the Ministry and Department of Labour, approved by the Cabinet, and then forwarded to Parliament for consideration, where the labour unions may comment on the laws. But the making of the law rests with Parliament and finally with the President who signs them into law.
During each one of these debates I stated very clearly that I was in favour of the role that labour unions perform in representing their members. I also told the labour union representatives that I was talking to the wrong people; that labour unions were not responsible for making the laws and were therefore not responsible for the negative consequences of the current laws. No matter what the views of the labour unions might be in their labour union roles, they are not the lawmakers. The government executive and the members of parliament make the laws and must take full responsibility for any unintended consequences they may cause.
According to the Labour Force Survey first quarter statistics (strict unemployment rate) there are 4.6-million unemployed people (25.2 percent). But this figure disguises the truth, because it leaves out those who have given up looking for work.
The real total is 7.9-million unemployed, 36.7 percent of the potential workforce. Of the 4.6-million people who are still looking for work 3-million have been unemployed for more than a year; 1.3-million are aged 15 to 24 and 1.8-million between the ages 25 to 34.
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