ANC’s employment rhetoric – a timeline

The ANC‘s promise to create six million jobs by 2019 is fanciful at best, according to opposition parties – a point emphasised by the ruling party’s critical miss of similar promises made in 2009.

Speaking at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga where the ANC launched its 2014 election manifesto, South African and ANC president Jacob Zuma told attendees that the ANC aimed to create at least six million jobs in the next five years.

“[The] majority [of jobs] will be reserved for young people,” he said.

However, this is not the first time the ANC has set bold targets for job creation ahead of national elections.

In launching its electoral manifesto for the 2009 national elections, the ANC set itself a goal of reducing poverty and unemployment in South Africa by half – to approximately 11%.

In its 2009 manifesto, the party highlighted that it had created half a million jobs in the country, reducing unemployment from 31% recorded in 2003, to 23% in 2007.

“In recent years the economy has for the first time been creating jobs faster than the rate at which new people have entered the job market,” the party said at the time.

“We have set ourselves key targets to reach by the end of the second decade of freedom, including halving the levels of poverty and unemployment by 2014.” (Emphasis added).

In the following year (2010), the ruling party targeted the creation of five-million jobs and reducing unemployment from 25% to 15% by 2020 – a target which, according to its latest promises, has now been replaced with the goal of a million additional jobs – a year sooner.

ANC’s employment promises over the past 5 years

Year Goal Achieved
2009 Halve unemployment rate to ~11% by 2014 Not achieved
2010 Reduce unemployment rate to 15% by 2020 (add 5 million jobs) Replaced
2014 Add 6 million jobs by 2019

ANC job Rhetoric

“The promise of President Jacob Zuma that five million job opportunities will be created over the next five years in South Africa is mere rhetoric,” Freedom Front Plus spokesman Anton Alberts said in a statement.

Alberts said government was not setting off any of the triggers required to enable South Africa’s economy to grow.

“There aren’t any opportunities being created for entrepreneurs of any race group to contribute to economic growth,” he said.

Rather, quite the opposite was being accomplished, with South Africa’s labour legislation suffocating the economy and job opportunities, with 1.4 million job losses since Zuma came to power in 2009.

“The only manner in which the government could create new jobs at all is by expanding the already bloated public service,” said Alberts.

Speaking in response to the ANC’s promised job projection, Dr Wilmot James MP, federal chairperson of the DA, pointed out that under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, unemployment in the country has continued to grow.

Currently, South Africa sits with unemployment rates as high as 25.6%, according to Stats SA, with the greatest job achievement of the past five years – as noted in the ANC’s latest manifesto – being the regaining of the one million jobs lost as a result of the 2008 global economic crisis.

“Unemployment has become entrenched at 25% (narrow definition), with more than 2.2 million workers having given up looking for a job altogether. At the current anaemic economic growth rates, this picture will not change,” James said.

Agang SA, who will be contesting the national elections for the first time in 2014, also added that the ruling party had a habit of not meetings its promises.

“Can the ruling party be so tone deaf to the disbelief and distrust citizens have towards it that it expects us to believe, without reason, that it will be able to meet these promises any better than it has in the past?”

“Enough is enough. We have had enough of promises over the last 20 years. We need a fresh start. Let us use our power to say in one voice that 20 years of promises is enough,” the party note.

Reporting with Sapa

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ANC’s employment rhetoric – a timeline