Thulas Nxesi, the minister of labor for South Africa, wants to create up to 2 million new jobs before the country’s upcoming elections as it struggles with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
There are roughly 12 million unemployed South Africans. Although some of the data is out of date, the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who were available for work but weren’t looking for a job, puts it at 45.5 percent, the highest rate among the 82 nations Bloomberg monitors. In 2024, voters in the most industrialized country in Africa will choose a new leader.
The number of people who were made unemployed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic is added up in Nxesi’s jobs target. Strict labor laws, stagnant productivity, administrative roadblocks, and a skills gap have made it more difficult for South African businesses to hire more workers.
In an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office, Nxesi was asked about his goal, and he replied, “Whether or not that is achievable, I don’t know.” According to him, the government is working on policy changes to give South Africans access to jobs before foreigners with the same skills.
Some South Africans who dislike having to compete with more immigrants for jobs have become more anti-immigrant as a result of the country’s high unemployment rate. The government has been compelled by this to implement proposals to enforce employment quotas for foreign nationals.
According to Nxesi, there has been a trend of “employing foreign workers at the expense of the South African workers.” “Employers deliberately hiring these vulnerable people are the problem,”
According to Nxesi, lowering the number of illegal immigrants will be essential to addressing unemployment.
Everywhere, he said, “it’s a very sensitive issue, but if you look in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Nigeria, and Ghana — they’ve all declared that you can’t bring anyone from outside if there’s a national who can do that job.”
South Africa wants to create a border control agency to reduce the flow of unauthorized immigrants from its neighbors. The Border Management Authority will initially have branches at six border posts and hire staff from various government agencies to strictly enforce immigration laws.
In the years leading up to the elections in 2024, unemployment is probably going to be a major problem. According to the minister, the government must come up with a plan to reduce the large number of labor migrants from impoverished neighboring nations.
The national statistics agency estimates that 3 million of South Africa’s 60 million residents are immigrants. They are mostly from Zimbabwe.
South Africa announced last year that it would end a special arrangement that permits about 178 000 Zimbabweans to reside and work there. The so-called Zimbabwe Exemption Permits were given to citizens of the country who relocated to South Africa prior to 2009.
For those who reapply, the permits will probably be extended, especially if their skills are required in the nation, according to Nxesi.
We all understand that the primary reason so many Zimbabweans are here is because their nation has completely collapsed, according to Nxesi.