Yes to Level 2 Lockdown, But What About A Basic Income Grant?
Press Statement | Assembly of the Unemployed | 01 June, 2021
The Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) accepts the move to lockdown level 2 as the number of Covid 19 infections continue to rise. However, we do not accept the conditions in which this occurs. The high rate of unemployment in South Africa means more than 10 million of us that are able to work have no jobs, and more workers continue to lose their jobs as retrenchments rise. Food prices are continuing to rise and pose a great to the already food insecure South Africa. The likes of education assistants who were funded by the Youth Employment Scheme initiative by the President are back home unemployed with nothing being said about their contracts. These omissions show a government that is unconcerned with the unemployed and working poor.
The results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2021 confirm what we are saying and show that ranks of the unemployed continue to swell. The official unemployment rate increased by 0,1% to 32,6% – its highest rate on record. Even more concerning is the rise in the expanded definition of unemployment by 0,6% to 43,2%. This is down to the number of discouraged work seekers having increased by 6,9%. In simple terms this means that, in the last three months alone, 201 000 work seekers have given up their hope of finding a job. This takes the total number of people whose lives have been smashed beyond the hope of finding a job to over 3,1 million.
As the Assembly of the Unemployed we DEMAND that Cyril Ramaphosa brings back the Social Relief Distress grant and introduce a Basic Income Grant for the unemployed, we have seen how South Africa can afford this through the irregular contracts and widespread corruption that have been exposed by the media. We believe that these billions of Rands can and should be used for the public good.
We demand that the youth that was granted work experience through the YES initiative be sent back to work and with a decent salary. Furthermore we demand that the government progressively introduce the Right 2 Work for the millions of us who can and want to go to work for our communities and the country.
The Government and treasury like to claim that there is no money for things like a Basic Income Grant and other key services we need, but it is clear, if they cut the corruption and stop implementing austerity policies we can achieve these basic goals.
For more information contact:
Siyabulela Mama – firstname.lastname@example.org / +27 65 970 7079
Khokhoma Motsi – email@example.com / +27 73 490 7623
Matthews Hlabane – firstname.lastname@example.org / +27 82 707 9860