Red-Green Alliance demands that unemployment be declared a national disaster
AoU Statement | 7 November 2019
Today, Assembly of the Unemployed, representing social movements of the unemployed around South Africa, in alliance with AMCU and SAFTU marched on Ramphosa’s Investment summit saying it is a lie that foreign investment equals jobs.
The fixation on foreign investment is not new, it was one of the pillars of the 1996 GEAR policy and this programme has just led to more retrenchments and greater levels of unemployment. Given that more than 40% of the working population do not have a job means that unemployment should be declared a national disaster and we need a moratorium on all retrenchments.
This alliance of labour and community demands state investment in meeting people’s tremendous needs such as in housing, health care and education. Mining affected communities that joined the march demanded a transition to renewable energy, which can create millions of climate jobs.
Further, marchers demanded that the government prioritises the needs of workers and the unemployed and not foreign investors. Foreign investors are here for profit which they shift out of the country.
It is undeniable that South Africa urgently needs investment for a new job-creating industrial strategy. Fortunately, South Africa has massive amounts of domestic resources at its disposal. Moreover, public sector investment around a clear industrialisation strategy aimed at meeting the myriad of urgent unmet needs of our people would serve to crowd-in private investors having the merit of meeting the country’s development needs.
- The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has assets of about R2.1-trillion. R1,8 trillion of which belongs to the GEPF and R180bn to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). Tapping into this pool of public finance can resource a lot of the investment required while placing no risk on public pensions. In fact, if the assets are directed to invest in a state-led re-industrialization strategy, it can result in the bolstering of future pensions through the guarantee of future work and therefore future contributions into the fund.
- South Africa also loses tens of billions of Rands each year as a result of profit shifting and wage evasion. A commitment to combating profit shifting and the legislation of a general anti-tax avoidance act can go a long way towards repatriating a huge amount of resources for investment.
- Furthermore, there is more than R1,5 trillion in idle capital. A small tax of 10% on idle capital can raise R150 billion, as well as act as an incentive to invest.
Our demands are clear:
- Living wage
- Moratorium on all retrenchments
- Basic Income Grant
- One Million Climate Jobs
For more information contact:
Khokhoma Motsi at 073 490 7623 or Pinky Langa at 078 784 2148 or Dudu Mkwanazi at 0609330959 or
Zama Timbela at 079 866 4690 or Mabhelandile Twani at 067 145 0473.
Who is the AoU?
The Assembly of the Unemployed is an alliance of social movements primarily consisting of the unemployed formed to fight for a wage-led, low carbon industrial jobs strategy.
Members of the Assembly of the Unemployed: