Tag Archives: labour

Two ways to curb South Africa’s jobs crisis

By Zukiswa Mqolomba South Africa is currently facing a job crisis of epic proportions. The change in unemployment numbers masks even sharper deterioration in the labour market. Firstly, it masks the increase in the number of “discouraged work seekers” as individuals have given up hope of finding work. Secondly it masks the exponential increase in…

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Ignoring the Oliphant in the room

During her Budget speech this week, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant extolled the virtuous circle of wages and economic growth. Workers needed to be paid decent wages to drive economic growth, she told MPs. “At the risk of sounding too simplistic” this made sense because South Africa’s economy is largely consumer-driven. “When workers earn a living…

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Can the new administration inspire investor confidence?

The latest gross domestic product numbers have confirmed that our economy is experiencing very serious strains and the ongoing platinum miners’ strike is a major contributor to the negative trend. At the heart of the problem is the uncomfortable reality that the majority of the unemployed are unskilled and yet we are progressively moving towards…

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It’s time to challenge our assumptions about domestic work

Growing up in South Africa I don’t think we realise just how accustomed we are to the sight of domestic workers, nannies and garden workers; people who work for low wages taking care of and cleaning up after individuals that are wealthier than they are. When travelling and experiencing other cultures, this subtle exploitation, which…

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Woman gives birth to child

When my wife Michelle gave birth to our first child, Aidan, last year, I learned some things about the world. I learned that nature doesn’t take prisoners. That labour wards are only pragmatic places, designed to extract one human being from another. And that every news headline, every day, should read ”Woman gives birth to…

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After 33 years of stability, the labour landscape shudders

The tragic shootings at Lonmin’s Marikana mine is a wake-up call to South Africans who imagined that the hard yards had ended with the advent of democracy. It is also a seismic shock to a labour-relations system that has weathered more than three decades. At the very least, the shooting to death of 34 miners…

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Capitalism or socialism? We have no choice

It is not surprising that South Africans have trouble thinking straight. The poor live in a state of anxiety and insecurity, while high crime rates have led to a fortress mentality among the rich. Fear and anger permeate our opinions and shape our politics. The haves persist in the shadow of Zimbabwe’s ruin; the have-nots endure,…

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The DA rocks

The leader of the Democratic Alliance may still be proved correct when she trumpeted that the party’s march on Cosatu House “will come to be seen as a turning point in South Africa”. In Johannesburg last Tuesday, the march led by Helen Zille and MP Lindiwe Mazibuko escalated into a violent street fight after members…

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We need to change the gendered value system

Are men and women different? If so, are those differences significant today? Recently I’ve had two discussions with men about the differences between men and women. Each time, after a long drawn out debate, it has come down to this: “But men and women are different. If they’re not, how come men and women don’t…

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Sweatshop sugar

When you pour a packet of South African-made sugar into your morning coffee, you can feel good about the fact that the workers who milled, refined, packed, and shipped it are paid relatively decent wages, enjoy basic benefits, and are protected against severe exploitation. In many respects, South African sugar is about as “ethical” as…

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