CAPE TOWN South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, called on all nationals to work towards a rapid rebound in employment, after 2.2 million jobs were lost nationwide, in the second quarter of 2020.
“Our success in responding to this unprecedented crisis will be measured by the speed of our labour market recovery,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa made the remarks, after data released by Statistics South Africa revealed that South Africa’s unemployment rate fell to 23.3 percent, in the second quarter from 30.1 percent in the first quarter, due to fewer people looking for work amid the nation’s strict COVID-19 lock-down. It marks the lowest rate since the third quarter of 2019.
“This sharp fall in the unemployment rate in quarter two is not a reflection of an improvement in the labour market, but rather an effect of the national lock-down, since the official definition of unemployment requires that people look for work and are available for work,” said the statistics body in its quarterly labour survey.
“We must ensure that every job lost during the crisis is replaced and more jobs are created, so that we can meaningfully reduce unemployment,” Ramaphosa said, adding that, the cabinet is finalising a programme for a return to growth and a rebound in employment.
Structural reforms, investment in infrastructure and other measures will play a crucial role in boosting the recovery of the labour market in the medium term, he said.
The government set up the unemployment insurance fund to provide over 43 billion rand (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars) in temporary relief, to more than four million workers, in efforts to prevent further job losses and keep businesses alive, the president added.
Besides, additional social protection measures have been provided to over 16 million South Africans, more than a quarter of the country’s population, during the lock-down, he said.
Source: Nam News Network (NNN)