Why South Africa must chase “jobs” instead of “decent jobs”

The Money Show presenter Bruce Whitfield interviewed Ann Bernstein, Executive Director at the Centre for Enterprise and Development, who argues there are many good reasons why South Africa should pursue jobs, as opposed to decent jobs.

  • South Africa has a crisis of unemployment. Mass unemployment requires a new approach.

  • We need jobs for the workforce we actually have in the country; not some ideal highly skilled workforce we would like to have.

  • For almost 20 years policy makers have been driven by a set of ideas that are completely unsuited to South African conditions.

  • It’s hard to think of any country (other than oil rich states) that have industrialised, got rid of mass poverty and built middle class societies without going through a phase of low level, low wage employment for millions.

  • The public sector is creating low skill, low wage jobs in the Public Works Programme. Wy do we not create the environment for the private sector to do this?

  • A job is far better than being unemployed.

Listen to the audio (scroll down) for mored detail.

You learn things from working! The Public Works jobs will work much better in the private sector. Why is it OK for the government to do this, but not OK for the private sector?

Ann Bernstein, Executive Director at the Centre for Enterprise and Development

We’ve tried this and it didn’t work. We have the highest recorded unemployment rate in the world! We need to try something different.

Ann Bernstein, Executive Director at the Centre for Enterprise and Development

Why isn’t it exploitative to say you can’t have a job because it isn’t a “decent” one? The moral imperative is not to condemn people to unemployment.

Ann Bernstein, Executive Director at the Centre for Enterprise and Development

We need a much more entrepreneurial society.

Ann Bernstein, Executive Director at the Centre for Enterprise and Development

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