PRESS RELEASE: SAPTU concerned South Africa heading towards labour disaster

SAPTU is concerned that the government prioritises politics above the real challenges of the labour market and the long-term impact on South Africa.

Stats SA just released information confirming that companies are appointing fewer people on full-time contracts. The number of South Africans who have full-time jobs decreased with 11 000 between September and December 2020 to 8 610 000.

In the same week, the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) named the country one of the few emerging markets to experience a fall in real wages in 2020. The ILO data showed a 4.8% fall in real wages. These figures are skewed because of the relief measures provided through the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) and the social relief of distress (SRD) grant. The future outlook is even bleaker as Stats SA show more and more companies going into liquidation.

“When is the government going to realise that they need to put aside politics and start to focus on the bigger picture in job creation and poverty relief – namely foreign investment?” says Adv Ben van der Walt, the general secretary of SAPTU (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institution Union). “People are barely making ends meet, but still, the government makes irrational decisions like closing the liquor industry once again and curbing the earnings of those workers.

“People are not pawns on a chessboard which the government can manipulate as they please. They are human beings who need to work to provide for their families.”

A further concern is a prediction that the fuel price will increase by up to R1 per litre in April to accommodate general levies and the Road Accident Fund levies. This puts even more financial strain on workers already struggling to afford travelling costs.

“The war in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province, should be a dire warning to the South African government,” says Adv Van der Walt. “When people are poor, unemployed or marginalised they are easily lured into activities which promise them either one of those. South Africa’s students are already protesting while more than 40% of the country is unemployed. Where will this lead us?”

Issued by:                  SAPTU

Date:                           31 March 2021

Enquiries:                  Adv Ben van der Walt, General Secretary SAPTU                                                           Cell.: 083 260 8548