It needs to be said that South Africa currently is in an industrial relations nightmare. The Department of Labour appears to have lost the plot! The spending is skewed in that a massive amount has been set aside to investigate the minimum wage when in fact the inspectorate of the Department of Labour are sorely lacking in every respect. It is a well-known fact that our laws are often ignored because of the lack of governmental oversight.
Over and above this the Compensation Fund has totally collapsed, this is nothing new and there are still claims that are outstanding and have been for over a decade. The Auditor General has failed the Compensation Fund for the past two years and the Minister of Labour is wholly absent. It is a notorious fact that the Unemployment Insurance Fund is tardy and the majority of claimants experience enormous hardships. Productivity South Africa has not resulted in better productivity in South Africa. In terms of the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index of 144 countries, we are at the very bottom when it comes to tensions in labour employer relations. This means that our Department has failed as a whole. Worse than this, we are second from the bottom with regard to wage inflexibility and almost at the bottom with regard to the rigid hiring and firing practices. Where is our Minister, she is wholly absent.
We are starting to scratch the bottom of the barrel in that unemployment in South Africa is growing mostly because of the inability of our Department to oversee and implement worker friendly labour legislation.
The essence of any government worldwide is its ability to look after its weakest members. We have seen the cutting of funds for the disabled such as the society for the blind and we have seen the non-payment to those that are injured at work. Our Department is doing the very opposite of protecting the poor, the needy and the disabled. Our Minister is wholly absent.
The Department of Labour is the custodian of creating an environment, which would enable the business community to create more jobs; this environment is moving in the opposite direction. Monies are being spent on investigating more onerous and harsher labour conditions, already Cosatu tells us that the youth unemployment sits at over 50% and our Minister of Labour is wholly absent. The Minister has not even shown her face in the Labour Portfolio for the last two years, where is she? She is wholly absent.
South Africa today is facing a deluge of retrenchments. South Africa today has unemployment as a norm, we have ever increasing problems and the small amount of people left in employment have to look after and support an increasing number of dependents. The government is squandering both time and capital but where is our Minister, she is wholly absent. Isn’t it about time we made this absence permanent.
Despite the fact that our government appears to be doing everything in its power to retard job creation, we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. At least the opposition voices are being heard, and there are cracks in the trade union movement. The manufacturing figures have had a surprising upswing, and with the low price of oil, we have managed to avoid a recession. Over and above all this, the ANC has now put its foot down and said that they are not going to ban labour broking despite the enormous pressure from the alliance. Even our two former President’s have been speaking out against some of the economic policies of the ANC, and there is some thought going into the future. It is surprising, but refreshing to see that there is some strong support for Deputy President Ramaphosa to take over the seat in 2019.