ChaiFM: Unemployment in South Africa directly impacts poverty

Isobel Frye, Director of the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, speaks on Chai FM on how unemployment directly impacts the poverty in our country. She adds on that this is not a happy picture to understand but it is quite necessary.


What we’re looking at today, is an economy that is not providing sufficient employment. Looking at the quarterly labour numbers recently released, it is evident that the rate of unemployment is at an all-time high.


“We need to find a way in which we can benefit from the efficiency of the 4th industrial revolution without necessarily losing the employment component,” Isobel outlines on the probability of Artificial Intelligence causing job loss in the service sector.


An astonishing 7.8 million people in South Africa are unemployed, 75% of which are long-term unemployed, which increases the difficulty of getting into the labour market. This large gap shows poorly on any resume or job-seeking application.


A further 3.3 million people are categorised as discouraged work seekers, someone who has given up on finding a job altogether.


“They are neither unemployed nor employed, discouraged work seekers have given up, they believe that there are no opportunities to gain employment.” – Isobel mentions.


There needs to be a demand for employment, employment is a commodity.


We need make mobile data, transportation and the ability to walk away with some finance achievable with employment. Discouraged work-seekers find that jobs are becoming scarce and that there is nothing that they can do about it.


In south Africa, we have service labour where other countries favour robotics. Many companies have taken the steps towards contactless services, which impacts employment negatively.


You need to give people hope, hope that there are still opportunities of employment and that their efforts are not in vain. Our economy is in dire need of employment opportunities, the numbers only increasing since the first lock down.

Source: ChaiFM