Johannesburg - South Africa won't create four million
jobs by 2025 on its current growth trajectory unless it changes some labour
policies, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Monday.
“This is not enough to make a significant dent in
unemployment,” the minister told an internal auditors' conference in
According to Statistics SA, South Africa's official
unemployment rate currently stands at 25.7%.
Under the expanded definition of unemployment - which refers
to people of working age without work and available to start work that week,
but who had not looked for work in the four weeks before the Stats SA interview
- 7 678 000 South Africans are unemployed.
The new growth path envisages the creation of five million
jobs by 2025.
Gordhan suggested that South Africa might have to relax its
labour laws in certain cases to grow jobs.
“We may have to change the way we see the labour
dispensation in South Africa,” he said.
For example, a balance needed to be found to retain the jobs
of the 10 000 people working at clothing factories in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal,
while still allowing them to earn a reasonable wage and keeping the factories
Factories in the area have threatened to close down and
relocate to Lesotho or Botswana if they are forced to pay minimum wages.
Gordhan said laws might also have to be relaxed to allow
young people to enter the workplace and gain skills and experience at lower
wages, but not at the expense of people who already have jobs.
Unless such changes are made, “we will not be able to make
the breakthrough we need to create jobs in South Africa”, Gordhan said.
However, this would be done in the awareness of the bitter
struggle fought against apartheid for human rights, decent work and decent
wages, he said.
“We are not going to lose what we have gained through