Johannesburg - The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(Sacci) expressed concern on Tuesday over the latest unemployment figures.
According to Statistics SA (Stats SA), unemployment rose
from 23.9% to 25.2% for the first three months of the year.
"The figures indicate that South Africa urgently needs
business-friendly regulations to improve the competitiveness of local
business," said Sacci spokesperson Neren Rau.
"Unfortunately, the current set of legislative
amendments before parliament largely introduces additional costs and burdens to
business that will ultimately reduce future sustainable employment creation."
Rau said short-term service contracts could be affected by
proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of
This would restrict opportunities to contain costs and
retain operational flexibility.
Broad unemployment - which measures unemployed individuals
as well as those who have given up looking for work - rose from 35.4% to 36.6%,
Stats SA said.
"A further clamping down on local business will mean
that this figure will continue to grow," said Rau.
The Democratic Alliance said the figures indicated South
Africa's economy was not "performing optimally".
"At a structural level, many of the jobs created in the
last year are in non-productive capacities such as the public service," DA
MP Sej Motau said in a statement.
"Government employment is not the kind of work that
creates sustainable momentum in an economy."
He said the DA had a "clear plan" to address
unemployment, but it had been ignored by the department of labour.
"Instead, it has chosen to propose a set of labour
amendment bills that will likely do even more damage to employment
opportunity," he said.
"Government must decide between appeasing Cosatu
(Congress of SA Trade Unions) and actually serving South Africans."
Trade union Solidarity said it was disappointed that
unemployment had continued to grow, despite a record increase in jobs last
Compared with three years ago, there were around 421 000
fewer jobs, said Paul Joubert, economics researcher at the Solidarity Research
"There are still roughly 421 000 fewer jobs compared
with three years ago, at the start of the recession."
The number of South Africans of working age (15-64 years)
grew by approximately 500 000 every year, he said.
Joubert said four out of ten South Africans looking for work
were unable to find suitable employment.
Employment numbers dropped sharply in 2009, during the
Since then, employment levels had remained virtually
constant, despite an upswing in economic growth.