Bishops’ Justice & Peace: ‘Urgent Need to Address Jobs Crisis’
Government must take decisive and strategic action to reverse the escalation in the job crisis, the bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission has warned. Recent research findings on unemployment by the University of South Africa and Momentum, as well as figures by Statistics South Africa, paint a bleak picture.
All the sectors of South Africa’s economy are shedding jobs and the ranks of the unemployed are expanding at an alarming rate.
In the mining sector alone, more than 70000 miners have lost their jobs in the past two years.
Drastic Action to Reverse Job Crisis
Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, chair of Justice & Peace for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said the current retrenchment and unemployment trends demand a decisive and strategic action to reverse the escalation in the job crisis.
“We join the calls for a jobs summit to discuss the ongoing retrenchments and the measures to expand job creation in the tough economic climate,” he said in a statement.
“The summit should be convened as a matter of urgency, and we also demand a moratorium on all retrenchments in all sectors while awaiting the outcomes of the jobs summit,” the bishop said.
“The jobs summit should not shy away from discussing and pursuing job creation through macro-economic reforms and mitigation of the current political uncertainties. Our country needs a macro-economic framework that is increasingly labour-absorbing and equitable in its distribution patterns,” he said.
Justice & Peace believes efforts to cushion the effects of unemployment on vulnerable families should be strengthened through expanded access to social protection.
It condemned the delays in the implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill which has been sent back to the parliament for corrections.
The new law will ensure that people who lose their jobs receive money for longer periods when they apply for unemployment benefits.