Koketso Moeti
Koketso Moeti

Jobs alone are not enough

According to the DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko “the real measure of inequality is between those who have jobs and those who do not” which is what the DA’s “Plan for Growth and Jobs” describes as the “full measurement of inequality”. This is really faulty thinking as it suggests that should everyone have a job, all will be well and inequality will be a thing of the past. It’s not that simple in real life, a life which the DA is clearly not familiar with. A job alone does not automatically lead to closing the inequality gap because having a job does not mean the income will be equally distributed, as evidenced by Lonmin.

She goes on to say that “our plan (which aims to reduce inequality) is designed to place South Africa on a pathway to 8% growth and cut through the widespread poverty that blights our communities”. The party is making the assumption that reducing inequality assures a reduction in poverty, which is not true. Because of the nature of the differences between the two, inequality and poverty will respond differently to “growth”.

Many employed South Africans live in poverty simply because the bread basket is beyond the wages they earn. Consider the North West as an example. Due to the failure of democracy to break down the social architecture of apartheid, many villages/informal settlements are based up to 55km from the nearest town. Money spent on transport and travelling to work can cost between R20 and R100 a day, particularly in areas with no access to public transport where the residents are forced to rely on “special deliveries”. What this results in little or no money to spend on basic needs. For mothers this is further worsened by a lack of social support adding childcare to the list of expenses that must be paid with an inadequate wage. This in turn means that despite having a job many individuals continue to live below the poverty line.

What this suggests is that contrary to the DA’s well-articulated beliefs, jobs alone will not “miraculously” solve inequality and poverty. There are many other social factors inhibiting this, something the liberal take of the DA conveniently chooses to ignore. So when we talk about jobs as a means of eradicating the inequality gap and poverty we should also talk about the many other social factors contributing to this.

It should also be made clear that access to basic needs should not be determined by one’s employment status. The moment this is done it amounts to equating the right to life (food, water and health are rights that are interlinked to the right to life) on whether or not one is working. As such there should also be a focus on ensuring that families are able to sustain themselves — irrespective of the household head’s employment status because jobs alone is not a solution to South Africa’s greatest challenges.

No doubt the DA’s plan makes all the right kind of noises and uses the right words but practically it is misguided and could further entrench inequality and poverty. When talking about jobs, in South Africa, it cannot be done without speaking about “living wages” and “decent work”.

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    • Graham

      Hi Koketso,
      I think though you do not realize the added benefits that come from low unemployment:
      – Companies cannot keep giving low wages as the supply of labour decreases. As long
      as unemployment is high, companies can keep paying workers low wages.
      – Government can save tax monies spent on grants. This can be spent on better wages
      for public employees, which will lead to further tax revenues and so forth…

      The long term effect of low unemployment will be “living wages” and “decent work”. But it all starts with job creation.

    • Stephen Browne

      So where do you suggest we start? Your’s is a typical South African response to a realistic plan – rather then accept that every man, woman, and child needs to start working themselves to the bone, saving every cent they can get, you complain about employment conditions. Say what you like, the only way out of this pit is hard, hard work. If you haven’t noticed, the labour unions are currently holding South Africa captive to their demands. Working well isn’t it? How about the unions call a collective embargo on strikes, and instead negotiate that everyone puts their backs into it for the next 8 years, provided there are no further hikes in the costs of basic amenities?

    • Momma Cyndi

      Excellent points about the support systems and the lack of infrastructure but jobs could go a long way to helping with that. If, for example, a working person was not forced by circumstance to support 10 relatives, wouldn’t that go a long way to bringing them up to a higher living standard?

      Too often we hear stories about how the dearly departed was the ‘sole breadwinner for the family’ or how a pension has to cover two children and six grandchildren. Surely if at least one of those children had a job then the whole family would benefit?

      What you have has always been tied to what you do. That is what motivates people to improve themselves and give their children a better life than they had. My mom would work all day and sew wedding dresses all night – not because she wanted to but because education is expensive she was determined to see her kids live better than she did. That is the beauty of capitalism – you can change your stars

    • Worker

      True – but when it comes to speaking about ‘living wages’ one has to first talk about inflation. Essentially, it is pointless to keep trying to chase soaring inflation by higher nominal wages that are worthless due to massive increases in the cost of living. Nobody involved in the current economic debate – especially the unions or the government – gives the slighest toss about inflation. In fact, the state and the unions are the main drivers of inflation. The state and parastatals have pushed huge cost increases into the economy for just about everything especially fuel and energy, mainly due to the need to recover the enormously inflated public sector wage bill. Hence the real cost of living is soaring out of control – and hits the poor and the wage earners hardest. Other countries have 2% inflation. SA has 5% officially, at least 10% in reality – and more. No wage will ever be a living wage unless inflation is controlled and the real cost of living brought down for the ordinary person.

    • William

      Hi Koki, you have written a good article, but you are not suggesting anything to solve the inequality dilemma.

    • Peter Joffe

      We will never close the inequality gap and there will always be those who are more qualified and more able than others. We are born equal but that is where it ends. We have those with jobs and those who don’t but those with ‘jobs’ have a long way to go before they can become leaders of business. About seven million of our South Africans are unemployed. Nearly 16million South Africans are receiving social grants. In any society it is usually about 5% who can truly say that they are ‘wealthy’. In South Africa there are more people on aid or grants than they are who are working.
      The only way to progress is a job for the parents who will then work like crazy to see to it that their children get a better start to life and so it goes on. We cannot create equality, we can only create opportunity and some will take it and some will not and will demand equality. Abraham Lincoln said in about 1,872 “You cannot take from the rich and give to the poor as all that will do it to make everyone poor”. Koketso you are right that jobs don’t mean equality but you have to start somewhere and that place is education and after that a job or self employment and slowly, though the generations some of those will reach the highest levels of success and quality of life. The DA is also right – who is the poorer, those with jobs or those with no jobs and no hope at all? South African trade unions drive up the wages of the ‘privileged’ and exclude those who want to join that clique.

    • Tommy Madikoto

      I agree, and I think that the DA too. It is important that we look at the different policies of the various parties in the context of them being part of the wider whole. Herein lies my criticism of your contribution. Essentially it says that the DA puts forward its “Plan for Growth and Jobs” as the panacea for “inequality” and “poverty”. It is just not possible for any political party to be this shallow – but I could still be proved wrong.
      Similarly, I do not believe that you intend “living wages” and “decent work” as a panacea for “jobs” in South Africa. Surely you must be thinking of things like education, productivity, technological advancements and a plethora of others.

      We need to read and understand very widely, the documents of people we do not necessarily agree with before criticising – lest we be exposed as shallow in our analysis. This is the first and probably the easiest step.

    • The Creator

      Obviously jobs alone are not enough, but a level of unemployment such as we have doomes the country to slow economic growth and the majority to poverty.

      Incidentally, the DA’s policies, entirely cribbed from the ANC’s policies, are not going to do anything to reduce unemployment.

    • Thabo Mophiring

      Good post. The World Bank in a recent report also argued that jobs argument is not a winner, they refer to jobs with a high development potential as being the key.

    • Jack Sparrow

      I’m so sorry Koketso but in your rush to criticise the DA I think you miss a vital point. If you are against employment unless it’s a well paid job, how do the unemployed survive? Hand-outs, grants, theft etc? All paid for by those who are productively employed; like it or not. Of course if you don’t understand this then there is little to no hope. Try take your idea to its extreme. What would happen if no one was productively (ie. not in parasitic or loss making government entities) employed? There would be no sustaining at all.

      It’s massive effort to be patient with people who expect hand-outs and miracles without working for them. One of the problems for North West residents is not the legacy of apartheid. It’s that the ANC government has squandered tax revenue on the Arms Deal, cadre deployment, Zuma’s house, trips overseas, the 2010 SWC etc etc rather than on proper education, infrastructure and a basis for commerce and industry to develop in the area.

    • Linda

      Hi Koketso.

      I am thrilled just by the mere fact that you have set aside time to read the DA Lindiwe Mazibuko’s piece and subsequently respond in writing. We need to encourage the culture of reading among our youth so that we can transform SA public discourse which is led by middle aged persons of European descent.

      I will however disagree with you. First, it is a matter of simple arithmetic that an increase of income of the unemployed from zero to any positive number will reduce gini co-efficient (a measure of income gap).

      Second, employment come from the demand side rather than from the supply side. Once you stimulate entreprenuership, small medium enterprises will grow, employment will rise, labour force reservation wage level will push wages closer to equilibrium. As unemployment decreases, wages will reach equilibrium level. Thus reaching the so called leaving wage naturally.

      The major problem we are currently facing is legislated minimum wage. SA has no proper data to arrive at a minimum wage that will not create ” dead weight “. All indications are that most medium to large employers are just too happy to pay their employees minimum wage which is clearly below equilibrium. on the other hand, small sized employers cannot afford these minimum wages.

      Lastly, employment is surely the starting point. Moreover, It is better to travel 55km to the nearest town with my hard earned R100 than to travel the same distance just to beg for bread.

    • Bernpm

      @Moetsi: It is a lot easier to critique a plan on the table than to propose a solution to a problem. I missed your suggestions to improve on the plan.

      @Worker: “True – but when it comes to speaking about ‘living wages’ one has to first talk about inflation.”
      Some +/-50 years ago, when inflation began to hit European countries, the Dutch made the % inflation the base for a nation wide income “correction”. Any other increase was productivity or promotion related or any other reason a company could have (talent competition).
      This ruling took care of a large portion of the annual wage negotiations. Naturally, it did not solve all problems but the “living wage” issue was somehow addressed.

    • Bernpm

      @Moetsi: It is a lot easier to critique a plan on the table than to propose a solution to a problem. I missed your suggestions to improve on the plan.

      @Worker: “True – but when it comes to speaking about ‘living wages’ one has to first talk about inflation.”
      Some +/-50 years ago, when inflation began to hit European countries, the Dutch made the % inflation the base for a nation wide income “correction”. Any other increase was productivity or promotion related or any other reason a company could have (talent competition).
      This ruling took care of a large portion of the annual wage negotiations. Naturally, it did not solve all problems but the “living wage” issue was somehow addressed.
      The additional benefit was that companies became partner in the control of inflation.

    • Bernpm

      @Linda: “……….we can transform SA public discourse which is led by middle aged persons of European descent.”

      Do you dare to ask yourself why that could be, if your statement is correct??? If you can, please let us know and we might gracefully retire from the conversation(s).

    • just a thought

      I enjoyed this article because it raises some good questions.

      But I have to admit the problem has stemmed from the ANCs assertion in the early 90s that everybody will get a job and access to good quality basic services (the majority of which would be free). The benchmark has thus been set that everybody who was disenfranchised by Apartheid now expects and demands a job. So all those with political aspirations have to address this issue, which was not created by the DA.

      My recommendations are to show rural populations that there are ways and means of living that do not require rapid influx of unemployed people to the urban areas. If focus is placed on subsistance agriculture or market gardening in the currently undeveloped areas (with state assistance and subsidies) then food security would be increased and extra crop could be sold. Isnt this how trade started in the first place? Even communis russia reverted to this process when socialism faltered in 1926.

      So when these areas start to be economically active, even if they are more low key then there will be an ancillary demand for services such as improved roads and infrastructure. New towns would form and eventually operate like the existing peri-urban ones.

      Its very easy to sit in an ivory tower with a telescope and critique policies and programs that politicians put down.

      But until we come to terms with the fact that the entire country cannot be urban, we will always have the age old question “can I…

    • SJ Botha

      The so-called living wage is a sure way of bankrupting any society and business. It does not take profitability, nor productivity into account and therefore it is a flawed idea.

      In the end, democracy always leads to those who add least to the system, finding out they can vote themselves an income from those who add most. Yest again, a sure way to make any society fail.

      Crime and racism is the expression of the fact that different nation are forced together in a unity state against their will, thus leaving them without a sovereign state of their own. The moment such nation are sovereign, crime and racism for the most part disappear.

      We can get this done, but it seems the politicians are the only ones who stand in our way, so let us remove them and for once do what is right. It has been done in Sudan and is on the cards in Catalonia, Belgium and perhaps even Scotland.

    • Oldfox

      It is important to understand the difference between inequality (will always exist) and high inequality. Brazil’s inequality, as measured by the Gini Coefficient, is high but decreasing. Inequality in South Africa is very high, and does not appear to be decreasing. High unemployment is the main contributor to SA’s very high Gini Coefficient.
      Increasing employment (we all need to strive to create employment, or to create conditions that favour job creation) will reduce the inequality/Gini Coefficient, but the reduction may not be noticed by some of the poor. More jobs will not and cannot “close” the inequality gap, but will reduce the level of inequality.
      Key to sustainable jobs with high wages, is high productivity. Productivity in SA is often very low.

      People employed in the formal sector learn skills. Many of them use those skills to start their own business, such as a welder at the side of the road who replaces or repairs exhaust pipes & silencers. A cook can start a catering business. Several cleaners could start a cleaning business. For such persons, a low paying job is infinitely better than permanent unemployment after leaving school, because a low paying job is a stepping stone better jobs and/or self employment.

      The DA is not the problem. All South Africans need to join hands to address the unemployment crisis

    • Oldfox

      Western Cape Provincial Govt is spot on with it’s Broadband vision/plan.
      Cheap, widely available Broadband will make a difference, and will help with employment creation, often indirectly. Broadband will facilitate education and training and lifelong learning, important for creating higher income jobs.

      The National Govt. (DoC, DPSA etc) and govt agencies like ICASA and USAASA did not lack vision in ICT, but failed in policy and execution.

    • http://thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso

      The feedback is appreciated. However, please note that the aim of this post was neither to provide a solution to inequality nor “be a typical South African”- whatever that is. The aim is to share that we believe that jobs are a solution to SA’s problems, but unless we talk about ‘living wages’ and ‘decent jobs’ we are aren’t doing much to really solve poverty and inequality.

      It’s not about people being lazy and not “working themselves to the bone” nor that they aren’t doing anything to improve themselves and their children’s lives; it is just that they can’t. Consider this, a young man with a matric education gets a job in Rosebank, earning approximately R3000 per month (please consider the latest results of the average South African household income). This young man supports a household of about 4.11 people (as found in the latest Stats SA household report). He stays in Orange Farm which means he spends about R68 per day (using a taxi) to get to work. This amounts to R1360 per month on transport, leaving him with about R1640 with which to support the entire family. This includes food, toiletries and if there’s a baby in the household, the costs increase even more. Do you really believe that this family is okay, particularly considering that the scenario I’m giving you is a much better one than most people experience. I personally know of many young people who earn between R1 200 and R1 500 in the North West.

    • http://thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso

      Also, apart from living wages and decent work, we should also be talking about ensuring that families are self-sufficient. A simple measure such as providing people with water can give way for them to live off their land, meaning they could depend less on their salary for food or possibly even earn an extra income from their land- leaving them with more money with which to improve the families’ circumstances.

      Our unemployment rate in January stood at about 24.9 percent, however the poverty rate was much higher than that. What this suggests is that even the employed are living in poverty- which evidences that a job alone is not going to ‘miraculously’ overcome poverty and inequality.

    • http://thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso

      Momma Cyndi, yes it is nice to imagine “if” but asking that question derails us from reality- which is that the majority of working black people in SA do support more people than their immediate dependents and more than what their salaries allow. History, coupled with current regime failures have ensured that. ‘Jobs’ aren’t going to fix that all, much more is needed- a living wage…

    • http://thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso

      Thabo, that’s something very notable you point out.

      For anyone interested, here’s a link he sent to me earlier today: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/22/workers-need-sustainability-too.html Decent jobs & living wages are key in any discussion or plan focused on job creation.

    • enlighten

      There will always be financial inequality in a Capitalistic system no matter who runs the government. Please realize this and move on from there.

    • http://www.thecusp.co.za Marius Oosthuizen @CUSPconsulting

      Are these not luxuries in a nation with 27% unemployment, on a undeveloped, poverty-strickened continent, in a world experiencing a Global Financial Crisis? “Living Wages” and “Decent Work” Those of us with livelihood can debate it here… but a hungry man? Would he not work to feed his family? Asking…

    • Linda

      @Bernpm. I think you need to take a deep breath, a glass water may be. why on earth do you regard my encouragement of black youth to read and write as equal to shutting you up. Is your opinion and that of us mutually exclusive? will the reasons that you are asking for going to change the fact?

    • Tommy Madikoto

      @Koketso you are so right about jobs on their own not solving poverty and inequality. it is for this reason that I suggest you address all other policy positions of any of the political parties to see the influence these would jointly have on poverty and equality. Criticising a single policy position without considering other complementary policy positions of that party is a bit unfair, don’t you concede?
      Interestingly, please explain what you mean by equality? Do you lean towards the liberal equal opportunity to access the spoils definition or the socialist equal sharing of the spoils definition?

    • Grant

      Jobs are not the answer? Getting our entire population off its bums and working will not help to solve our problems? Raking in higher tax amounts to support the needy from a bigger working base is not a good thing? Reducing the pool of available labour and making business pay more for good workers is a bad thing? Lady…please!

      Why is there this notion in SA that people should be gifted these perfect jobs, crafted to their pleasure or otherwise supported by government? It is beyond deluded.

      As for “A job alone does not automatically lead to closing the inequality gap because having a job does not mean the income will be equally distributed, as evidenced by Lonmin.” The only thing that will equally distribute is communism and even the most deluded fool now admits that clamping the human spirit is such a massive and ghastly system is a cruel and unusual state. That and it has failed in every possible way in every place it was implemented. Get to Cuba now because it is changing fast because communism failed. Get to North Korea for your Dec holiday if you think equal redistribution is the answer to a happy life.

    • bewilderbeast

      Sorry Koketso, but “great, good-paying jobs for all” is NOT a feasible plan. Not even if you add “car allowance, corner office and expense account for all”.
      In fact it’s precisely “misguided and could further entrench inequality and poverty”.
      Examine your motives.

    • Tofolux

      On reading some of the comments, one again reflects on Thabo Mbeki’s statement that we definitely ”live in two seperate South Africa’s”.Here once again, one is confronted with the reality of hypocrisy and sheer insensitivity of those who know ”what is good for the poor”. I am glad that the debate has been put and the author articulates and points out quite correctly the disconnect and contradictions. What is quite deafening is the silence of the ”analysts”, political and otherwise on this grossly misinformed idea of Lindiwe. What is also quite deafening is the lack of interrogation by editors of major newspapers noting that these are now our everyday gurus on these matters. @Koketso, I think you need to go further and ask where this idea originated. It is a second-hand idea and it is not surprising that gestapo-like ideas are being recycled by those who make politics out of poverty. The greatest injustice is the fact that the conceptual thinking of povery, is so poor.

    • Momma Cyndi

      Koketso #

      Define ‘a living wage’.

      My daughter has no dependents, is paying of a student loan (whilst still accruing more during this year of studying) and living on her own. She gets about R5,000 a month after deductions. Is that a ‘living wage’? I don’t think it is but she seems to cope quite comfortably. Possibly because she doesn’t have to support anyone but herself.

      My cousin is an accountant who supports her deadbeat husband, his sister and her 4 children. Whilst my cousin only has one child of her own, she finds making ends meet on a salary in excess of R20,000 a month, very difficult. Would that mean that +R20,000 is NOT a ‘living wage”?

      Yes, I agree that people should not be exploiting the desperate by paying them R100 for an 8 hour day of labour but until we have more jobs, the principle of supply and demand will keep that exploitation alive. If there are jobs available, you have the luxury of being able to tell the boss to shove it and go and find another job. With our unemployment rate, that is just not an option for many

    • Roy

      Equality under communism? China tried to force equality on the majority – the communists murdered hundreds of thousands of wealthy landwoners in the early 1950s. After the Chinese economy opened up (initially slowly) in 1978, inequality increased. However, China did lift 400 million people out of extreme poverty (under $2 per day) since 1978.
      There are now many thousands of dollar millionaires in China, but the average wage for several hundred million workers is lower than a rockdriller in a South African mine. Some of the Chinese millionaires by the way, are communist party officials who have used their influence to acquire money that they have not earned through hard work!

      In his classic Wealth of Nations first published in 1776, Adam Smith explains simply why income inequality always exists.

      In South Africa, we need to address, among others, the following:
      1.high inequality (its not a natural state in any society),
      2.squandering of scarce funds by govt. (hundreds of billions improperly used/allocated)
      3. low productivity
      4. transport costs and related issues (people living far from places of work).
      5. poor quality education (among the very worst in the world) with high dropout rates and high failure rates, resulting in parents having to pay schooling costs (incl. transport and uniforms) for a year or more beyond 12 years for those who complete matric.
      6. very high interest rates for small loans (known since biblical times to perpetuate poverty).

    • Grant

      Tofolux – Here is a crazy idea…the poor are actually not the best equipped to comment on how to get out of the poverty cycle. if they knew how, they would do it. I therefore suggest that the best people to make that happen are the those who actually do “know what is good for the poor”. If you have a poor uneducated man and a university educated professional, which do you think is best placed to figure out a way for the poor guy to get out of poverty? Strangely enough it will probably be the educated guy who comes up with a solution. All this talk by the poor of demanding jobs shows a massive lack of understanding of what a job is exactly. A job is not something that governments manufacture for its people and that can simply be handed out although oddly enough they do try. It is an indicator of the health of a society, of people being free enough to reach for their goals within a society that can support them to start and run businesses. Jobs flow from good policy. They are made by people who have so many good solid ideas and so many useful tasks to perform that they can’t do it all by themselves. Jobs can’t be demanded. Good policy can. A poor uneducated person will not know that and hence they vote ANC and for bad policy and write columns that denigrate the DA proposal which any thinking person will tell you is bang on the mark.

      But hey, what do I know, I am not poor enough to comment. I don’t qualify to have an opinion.

    • MLH

      This is why more jobs work. The family is real and living in Umlazi.

      A year ago:
      Grandmother: earned R1 600/month
      Grandfather: no job/no income/took a package from his full time job and spent the lot some years ago
      Son 1: no job
      Son 2: still at school
      Daughter: no job
      Granddaughter: still in primary school.

      This year:
      Grandmother: earns R1 760/month
      Grandfather: earns R1 500/month, but makes no contribution to the family (he drinks, but at least he’s stopped stealing)
      Son 1: is doing something with taxis but makes no contribution to the family (is into drink and drugs)
      Son 2: takes whatever ‘piece work’ he can; about R500/month
      Daughter: R4 500/month
      Granddaughter: still in primary school.

      With one full time job, this family has improved its income to R6 260/month, with the males generally at least more self-sufficient that they were a year ago. The grandmother also keeps chickens and sells eggs. She’s bought herself a brick-making machine and intends training someone to make concrete bricks to sell for building. I didn’t count in Son 2’s earnings because he’s going to study next year and may earn less or nothing. If Son 2 can find a job after studying, they’ll be doing far better, thank you, even if his wage is not high.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso Moeti

      You all seem to be confused here. I am not saying that jobs are a bad thing, people should be employed. What I am saying is that a ‘job’ on its own does not provide enough of a social net for many. I can also provide my own case studies which didn’t work out as well as the Umlazi family, but that does not mean that there’s anything ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ with what happened to them. It’s just that we need to respect that it doesn’t work out that way for everyone. Here’s some further reading for you all:

      PROFILE OF POVERTY AND INEQUALITY IN EARNINGS: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCROATIA/Resources/CroatiaLSA_Chapter2.pdf

      Inequality: The Haves and Have-nots: http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/0,,contentMDK:22818442~pagePK:64165401~piPK:64165026~theSitePK:469372,00.html

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso Moeti

      Grant, why not counter my views as others have done- rather than make assumptions about my political affiliation and educational status? Also, what does that have to do with anything? Just in case you are longing for ‘the good old days’, kindly note that they are over. Opinion is no longer limited to some- we are all free to express it, irrespective of educational status, political affiliation and all 😉

    • http://www.sane.org.za Yaj

      @ Koketso

      Good article. I agree with you that the DA argument of half-a-loaf is better than none is rubbish and is really a race to the bottom.

      There are no neoliberal globalist solutions to our predicaments of unemployment , poverty and inequality – the big 3 which every politician under the sun in this country will mentiom in their speeches ad nauseum.

      The truth is that an open economy without any protectionist measures such as import tariffs destroys local manufacturing jobs. Secondly, mechanisation and automation in the drive for efficiency and competition sheds more jobs than it creates which leads to a major conundrum. Thinking outside the box is required for any feasible solutions such as universal basic income + job-sharing with a reduction in the working week.
      Under this debt-based money system of fractional reserve banking and compound interest , inequalities tend to widen exponentially as wealth becomes more and more concentrated -the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.Only fundamental monetary reform to full reserve banking and public credit will be able to address this issue and level the playing field-see latest IMF study-“THe Chicago Plan Revisited”.
      In the short-term , besides basic income ( also a form of wage subsidy) we need to raise the minimum wage and cap executive remuneration by a ratio of 100 to1 from the highest paid to the lowest paid employee of any company or organisation. This may reduce the obscene inequality in our country.

    • Bernpm

      @Linda: @Bernpm. I think you need to take a deep breath, a glass water may be. why on earth do you regard my encouragement of black youth to read and write as equal to shutting you up. Is your opinion and that of us mutually exclusive? will the reasons that you are asking for going to change the fact?

      Apologies if I misunderstood your comment. I read indeed a suggestive mutual exclusiveness or a “less wanted”of the opinions of the middle aged from European descent in your comment.

      I did not take a deep breath, just played some quiet tunes on my piano and took a glass of dry red Namakwa wine = purified water mixed with grape juice :-)

      Looking forward to your always interesting comments.

    • Zeph

      Of course jobs alone is not the answer – but it is a damn good start!

    • Tofolux

      @Grant, your comments are insulting and patronising. If you believe that poverty equates to stupidity, unintelligence or childlike behaviour then I am afraid YOU have much to learn. Admit that you cannot defend the grossly misinformed remarks of the remote controlled person who sits in parly. Instead of exposing yourselves for a complete lack of ideas in the context of the needs of a developmental country or the reality in the context of poverty I suggest you stop copy n paste things u do not understand. And instead of insults you shud note that the poverty we find ourselves in, is a result of yr previous practises and support of dehumanisation. Schooling and employment was reserved for certain persons only. It wasnt a choice as you and others insinuate. We were robbed of our land, our homes, our resources, our culture and basic human rights. To believe that this made us unintelligent human beings is mind-blowing. But for the record, can I say that despite all this inhumane practises we produced Nobel winners, pioneering doctors, visionaries, intellectuals of note, freedom fighters etc. This was done while we were driven into poverty by your system and with your support. It is insulting for you to think that we need you to think for us, you to teach us and for you to lead and speak for us. We are human beings. Human beings who are poor are poor because of valid circumstances but I can assure you that our intelligence and ideas are not poverty stricken unlike you and yours

    • Lennon

      @ Koketso: While everyone should be afforded the opportunity to get good pay, at this stage it just (sadly) isn’t possible.

      A couple of things can help fix this:
      1) The government really has to sort education out. By this, I don’t mean that they should just throw more money at it. They also need to start clamping down on individuals within the DoE who aren’t doing their jobs be they teachers, principals or officials.

      2) Any reduction in red tape would help start-up companies tremendously. Any start-up which can maintain itself introduces the prospect of growth which, in turn, leads to more jobs being created.

      I’ve been without work before and after scratching around working as a waiter and then a photo lab assistant for two years before finally getting work in my field of interest I can tell you it’s not fun. My old man hasn’t had much in the way of work for the last three years, thanks to gross mismanagement in the printing industry. He’s been forced to take odd jobs installing electric gates just bring a bit of cash in and I can tell you he’s grateful for anything at this point.

      While just any job is not ideal, it sure beats having no income whatsoever.

    • Lennon

      @ Yaj: If the ANC (by some miracle) decided to wrestle control of the SARB back, what do you suppose would happen? You might also want to ask them why old price control boards were shut down as well as why they sold out to cheap Chinese imports instead of enforcing protectionist policies in the first place.

      Why have we been importing arms from foreign companies instead of local firms like Denel and Paramount Group? Why should Shell get to frack the Karoo up instead of SASOL?

    • The Critical Cynic

      J.O.B ~ an accronym for Just Over Broke that applies across the salary scale unless you learn to live within your means. With a debt:income ratio of around R76 (per R100 earned going to servicing household debt) it’s apparent that having a job doesn’t eradicate poverty or hardship, and the lower and middle income groups are the most indebted in SA. A job without the skills to manage ones finances can take a person into a debt ridden hell that the unemployed can’t even contemplate.

      Demand has to be created. Onerous labour laws, high-minded and well intentioned as they were, have repeadedly been quoted as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to jobs creation in SA. Furthermore If the demand can be created but is for highly skilled workers then education has to be improved or those jobs will go to others,

      Contrary to the argument that Government must provide the jobs they foolishly promised, the solutions need to come from the private sector in a government provided environment conducive to job creation.

      Solutions? Making it cheaper and easier to start and operate a busines, especially in the initial 5 years. Lower taxes (on petrol and tolls too), subsidised jobs, improved and cheaper infrastructure, smaller less complex or divided tenders that [perhaps only] smaller business could apply for. Nationalise Telkom and make local landline calls free, deregulate the telecoms environment further and reduce communication costs….. lots could be done but isn’t

    • Danny Watkins

      “As such there should also be a focus on ensuring that families are able to sustain themselves — irrespective of the household head’s employment status because jobs alone is not a solution to South Africa’s greatest challenges.”

      Please provide some ideas on how this will be achieved then?

    • Zeph

      @Crytical Cynic – what you state is true but it would need balls to implement. Now there I see a problem…

    • Brian B

      A “good living wage “and” decent work” is a very broad tapestry. Standards of living are so diverse and notions of decent work vary according to perceptions. What we have is a minority which is rich and a majority which is poor. There is a common thread called earning a living. There are many that are rich who work hard and use their skills and talents to grow the economy and they create jobs. There are also many who add little value but get paid grandly without earning it.
      There are many poor who manage to eke out an existence on low wages. Their dignity and self discipline is admirable. There are also many unemployed who long for jobs. equally there are those who have lost all hope . Crime draws from the rich and the poor, people who are prepared to break the law to enrich themselves. The dignity of work allows people to be build their self esteem by providing for themselves.
      Low unemployment means that the tax base broadens, not only from more personal tax but also greater company tax from increased sales of goods. So there is more money to provide for services and less need for welfare support.

      The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”
      ― Thomas Jefferson

    • Oldfox

      @The Critical Cynic
      ‘A job without the skills to manage ones finances can take a person into a debt ridden hell that the unemployed can’t even contemplate.’

      I stated years ago on TL that children should be taught financial management at school. Money lending at usurious interest rates is a big racket in SA. Perpetuates poverty.

    • Anne Coventry

      I agree with Oldfox and The Critical Cynic. More money for someone without the skills to manage their finances will in all likelyhood just result in even more debt.

      I watched 3rd Degree where they spent the night with a miner and his family. His take home pay is more than R7000, and he lives in a single room shack which costs him R300 per month. It seems that he is in so much debt that most of his salary goes on repayments. I gather he has 8 dependents, but only his wife and two children live with him, so I wasn’t sure what the extent of his support for his other dependents is. But I couldn’t help feeling that more money would just mean that he will get himself even deeper into debt.

      I’m afraid I found it difficult to feel any sympathy for a man who sleeps alone in double bed while his wife and children sleep on the floor. And their meal of rice and a little chicken might have been even more depressing if one hadn’t seen him lighting up a cigarette.

    • Brian B

      Anne Coventry
      It really does not help to be judgemental.
      Living beyond ones means transcends all income groups. The more money available the grander the folly.
      People must be encouraged towards a better more stable way of life. The hierarchy certainly do not set a good example

    • Anne Coventry

      @Brian B
      “Living beyond ones means transcends all income groups. The more money available the grander the folly.”

      That is exactly what I was trying to say. The need to teach people how to manage their money is just as important as increasing their wages.