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Unemployment rate: you would be foolish to believe there’s something to celebrate, says ex statistician-general Pali Lehohla

The statistics show that the rate of unemployment in South Africa, for the second consecutive quarter, has decreased in the three months to June as the number of jobs created during the period surpassed those that were lost.

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In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Lehohla said he “wouldn’t really say there is a dent to unemployment”.

“There is absolutely nothing to celebrate here. I mean, it is a disaster. You need to be foolish to believe that there is anything to celebrate in these numbers. Not when the youth’s absolute number of employment has reduced over 12 years. Then you can see that there is no future whatsoever,” Lehohla said.

“The policy design shows fault. It is a dwarf-like character disposition of policy that we are having and we do not look at the youth who are the future.”

Lehohla said the positive unemployment is from the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and more people returning to their jobs.

“We have been in Covid-19 and we are getting out of Covid. We haven’t reached the pre-Covid numbers of 16. 1 million employed people which was not enough to deal with the challenges we face in South Africa regarding unemployment,” Lehohla said.

“Our policies have failed dismally to deal with (unemployment). It would be a misnomer if the numbers wouldn’t increase given that Covid has been lifted. So, this is just the effect of lifting the ban on Covid movements and all kinds of things.”

Lehohla said with the “self-inflicted” electricity problems bedevilling businesses in South Africa, one cannot expect anything better than what was presented in the latest statistics.

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