The narrative that South Africans are lazy must come to an end as it is misplaced. There is significant evidence to show that other factors contribute to this misinformed narrative that is outside the control of South Africans. This country is plagued by public and private sector that refuses to lower barriers to entry in the job market in one case and in another lacks the will to create more job opportunities for South Africans. This is compounded by employers exploiting labour regulations and employing desperate people, some of which are African migrants. This creates another false narrative that African immigrants are hard-working as opposed to South Africans who are not. That begs the question – why is there a perception that South Africans are lazy?
The current rate of unemployment shows that there are multiple barriers that keep many of the country’s unemployed locked out of job opportunities. These include inequality between the education and skills needed in the economy. The particularly low level of skills among poor South Africans constrains their ability to enter the world of work. The few resources that poor South Africans have are shared between African immigrants and themselves.
South Africans are the fifth hardest workers in the world, with an average worker clocking in 43.3 hours a week. They are always willing to prove themselves when they are given an opportunity. There are lot of graduates in South Africa who are currently unemployed, and they always go to the streets holding placards to seek out employment. Is that what you call lazy?
This hashtag #SouthAfricansAreNotLazy always evokes emotions on social media among Africans. Some Africans label South Africans as lazy and that leaves South Africans exasperated. Most employers prefer to hire African immigrants because they take any salary given to them whilst South Africans challenge these unfair employment practices and low incomes offered. African immigrants accept these low incomes and tolerate being exploited by employers. South Africans see this as a betrayal in their fight against unfair labour practices.
However, South Africans do not hate other Africans. This mentality that South Africans dislike African immigrants is completely inaccurate and wrong. South Africans have welcomed other Africans into their land.
The South African government and private sector should take full responsibility with what is happening in South Africa. They have failed to create a conducive environment for employment, reduce poverty and provide quality healthcare and education for all their citizens affected by this affliction.
Employers must put South Africans first and prioritise them for job opportunities. They should refrain from saying South Africans are lazy when they challenge their exploitative behaviour and ability to create more jobs.