South Africa is facing a crisis when it comes to unemployment. The National Treasury has warned that job losses could be between 690 000 and 1.79-million due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the South African economy.
This week a lot of companies have already started retrenching workers and experts are warning that this is only beginning. The rate of retrenchments is now starting to rise, with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) receiving more than 20,000 cases and applications to retrench workers.
Edcon has served 22,000 of its employees with notices of retrenchments. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has issued a notice of possible retrenchments that could affect 600 employees, it said in a statement on Thursday. South Africa’s airline industry has been particularly hard hit in recent months, with the likes of SAA, Comair, and Bidvest Group subsidiary, BidAir all reportedly announcing retrenchments.
All these companies are blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown for the retrenchment bloodbath. South Africa has one of the deepest and most persistent unemployment crisis in the world, with the situation worsening due to slow economic growth which has failed to produce jobs at the pace at which new graduates enter the market.
A recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa placed the country’s youth unemployment rate at 58.1% in the final quarter of 2019, an increase of 3.4% from the last quarter of the previous year. This shocking figure means over half of the 20.4 million South African population aged between 15 to 34 faces unemployment.
Unemployment is a serious issue for the economy and it needs to be prioritised by the government. I believe that the government needs to work together with other stakeholders to solve the problem of unemployment. The unemployment rate in the country requires urgent attention.
Source: STATS SA