• Africa Urged to Modernise Farming

    At the 23rd African Union (AU) Summit, the chairperson of the AU, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, encouraged the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) to modernise farming as a means of attracting young women and men into the agricultural sector.

    Since its evolution from Organisation for African Unity to AU in 2000, the organisation has been battling with the impact of global financial crises threatening its vision of integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

    Agriculture remains a major source of food security and economic growth in Africa, according to African Economic Outlook 2014, which describes the sector is the main exports trade commodity in Africa valued at US$57 billion.

    To read the article titled, “Modernising agriculture to address youth unemployment in Africa,” click here.

    SABC News
  • South Africans Want Zuma to Create Jobs

    South Africans want President Jacob Zuma to focus on job creation in his State of the Nation Address.

    According to a survey conducted by Ipsos, 90 percent of respondents believe unemployment is serious and need to be dealt with urgently.

    Sixty-one percent of the people questioned felt the government is not doing well in reducing unemployment by creating jobs, while 61 percent of the people feel the government is not doing well in reducing unemployment by creating jobs.

    To read the article titled, “Zuma must focus on jobs: survey,” click here.

    Times Live
  • ILO: Weak Global Recovery Bad for Growth

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says a weak recovery from the 2008 global economic downturn has curtailed job growth around the world.

    The Geneva-based agency says that nearly 202 million workers were unemployed in 2013, up five million from the year before.

    It further says youth unemployment is a particular problem, with more than 74 million people aged 15 to 24 out of work in 2013, adding that the youth employment rate is more than 13 percent, more than twice the overall global jobless rate.

    To read the article titled, “ILO - weak global recovery has curtailed job growth,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Youth Unemployment Highest in the World

    According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk 2014 report, South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 to 24.
    The report, which estimates that more than 50 percent of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed, found that only Greece and Spain have higher unemployment in this age range than South Africa.
    "At the same time the rising cost of higher education has left a generation with unpayable debt and little chance of finding a job," it states.
    To read the article titled, “SA youth unemployment 3rd highest in world,” click here.

    Fin 24
  • Gordhan Encourages Entrepreneurship

    Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says even though the government is trying everything in its power to create jobs, it is impossible for government to employ everyone.
    Speaking at the Forum, the minister urged all South African citizens to work together in improving the state of the country’s economy, he further encouraged people to start their own businesses.
    He denies any suggestions that his tough measures against ministers’ wasteful expenditure has got anything to do with the upcoming 2014 national elections.
    To read article titled, “Gordhan encourages entrepreneurship,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Unemployment Talks Dominate One Young World Summit

    Youth unemployment, entrepreneurship and HIV/AIDs dominated discussions at the One Young World conference which took place from the 2-5 October 2013 in Sandton, Johannesburg.

    Barclays Bank chief executive officer Anthony Jenkins, says the world faces a lot of challenges and that businesses and politicians should come up with best practices to help society.  Jenkins added … “the youth will have to be brave and tackle unemployment, but responsibility cannot only be left to them.”

    Youth unemployment is currently growing by 4-million every year. This does not only affect illiterate people, but university graduates who also find it difficult to get jobs.

    To read the article title “One Young World Summit puts unemployment under spotlight,” click here.  

    SABC News
  • Unemployed and Uninformed

    The unemployed seldom know why they are unemployed. They are unlikely to realise that they would be employed if labour law barriers were removed or relaxed.

    They can, on the other hand, from harsh personal experience, relate more directly to policies that protect those fortunate enough to have jobs from a similar fate. The unemployed masses are unlikely to realise, without it being explained by honest and informed political leaders, that improving pay and conditions of employment for people with jobs comes at the expense of people without jobs. It also comes at the expense of consumers, especially the poor (for whom prices are driven upwards), and at the expense of society at large (for whom prosperity is curtailed). In the context of nebulous and reckless calls for ‘nationalisation’, the unemployed are especially vulnerable. No one ever explains by what process or mechanism changing ownership from people who created real jobs (investors), to ones who did not (bureaucrats), should benefit anyone other than a handful of new undeserving super-elites.

    This analysis has focused primarily on flexibility of demand, that is, the degree to which the cost of employing people affects the propensity to employ. On the other side is flexibility of supply, the propensity to work in response to wages and working conditions.

    When there is full or near-full employment, job-seekers have a seller’s market and there is little need to be concerned about ‘exploitation’ because workers can pick and choose without the risk of unemployment. Employers have to compete for labour, which drives wages and working conditions upwards.

    Under conditions of widespread destitution, such as we have in South Africa, supply is substantial, flexibility of supply is low, and workers have less ‘bargaining power’. They have to accept almost any employment they can get, which means that they are more likely to be ‘exploited’ (‘starvation wages’ and harsh working conditions). This increases the likelihood of labour laws to protect workers, but decreases the likelihood of barriers to employment being removed for the unemployed.

    - Leon Louw is the Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation. This article first appeared on the Free Market Foundation (FMF) website. It is republished here with the permission of FMF.

  • Fisantekraal Centre for Development: Director

    Fisantekraal Centre for Development
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Sunday, September 28, 2014
    Opportunity type: 

    Fisantekraal Centre for Development (FCD) is a Christian nonprofit organisation (NPO) that holistically develops unemployed adults in order to significantly decrease unemployment levels in the greater Durbanville area (Cape Town). FCD is small, but strategically positioned for growth.

    FCD seeks to appoint a Director, based in Durbanville, Cape Town.

    The position is well suited for a young person who has a few years experience in management within a NPO and is looking for an opportunity to grow as a leader. There is strong support from Learn to Earn of which FCD is an associate.

    Start date: October 2014


    • Active member of an evangelical church;
    • Passionate about the development of unemployed people;
    • Minimum of three years managerial experience in an NPO;
    • Relevant degree / diploma;
    • Leadership skills;
    • Ability to think and act strategically;
    • Fundraising experience relevant to sustaining a NPO, including the development of partnerships with businesses / foundations;
    • Financial management, accounting and budgeting experience;
    • Planning skills;
    • Interpersonal skills and ability to work cross-culturally;
    • Communication skills in English (verbal and written) and Afrikaans (verbal and written);
    • Competent in Microsoft Office.

    To apply, submit a CV (maximum of three pages) with referees, including your minister, and a motivational letter to chair@fisantekraal.org.za

    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.

    For more about Fisantekraal Centre for Development, refer to www.fisantekraal.org.za.

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to www.ngopulse.org/vacancies.


    Need to upgrade your NGO's technology capacity and infrastructure? Need software and hardware at significantly discounted prices? Refer to the SANGOTeCH online technology donation and discount portal at www.sangotech.org.

  • The Economics of Illegal Mining

    On 22 June 2014, four suspected illegal miners were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head at a gold mine near Johannesburg. Earlier this year (2014), a rescue operation to remove illegal miners from the abandoned Gold One mineshaft in the East Rand, Gauteng, revealed a reluctance to be rescued for fear of arrest. This brings to attention the scale and intractability of efforts to curb illegal mining.

    Illegal mining is not confined to abandoned mines, and appears to be especially prevalent where improperly sealed, abandoned tunnels meet operational tunnels. Safely rehabilitating South Africa’s abandoned mines to prevent access would cost approximately US$2.7 billion. Most of the companies responsible no longer exist, making it difficult for the state to recover its costs. It should, however, signal its plans for how to deal with the matter and how to prevent it in the future.

    To confound matters further, Sibanye Gold reported that some of its own employees were involved in illegal mining while off-duty, making the distinction between illegal and legal miners particularly difficult from a governance perspective. The company called for the army to be brought in to address the problem, amid general complaints that the government was not doing enough.

    Former mineral resources minister, Susan Shabangu, suggested that illegal mining costs the economy about US$550 million a year. It is unclear whether this pertains to lost tax revenue or production losses from operational mines. By its nature, illicit activity is not amenable to accurate statistics, but estimates indicate that about 14 000 people are involved in illegal mining activities in South Africa: 6 000 underground and 8 000 at surface level. The prevalence and persistence of illegal mining tells us three uncomfortable things, and shows that a multipronged approach is required.

    First, regional poverty largely accounts for the supply of illegal miners, who are predominantly from countries outside South Africa (Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique). These countries have some of the world’s highest child mortality rates (a sensitive and reliable measure of poverty) and lowest scores on the United Nation’s Human Development Index (HDI). Child mortality rates range from 77 deaths per 1 000 births (Malawi) to 102 deaths per 1 000 births (Lesotho). Swaziland scores highest on the HDI score with 0.522 and Mozambique lowest with 0.322 (all figures from 2011). It is also rather alarming that miners would prefer to stay trapped rather than be rescued for fear of arrest. Mining sociologist, Philip Frankel, makes the point that immigration statistics by definition underestimate the number of people driven to South Africa as a function of regional poverty.
    These undocumented poor ‘then become victims of a largely silent xenophobia intrinsic to the struggle for scarce resources.’ Many become victim to criminal syndicates who traffic refugee labour into both operational and abandoned mines. He argues that this is facilitated by illegal labour brokers who recruit mineworkers through collusion with mine officials up to senior management, local police and human traders within the labour movement. High levels of coercion within these dynamics would explain why miners incur the risk of operating illegally (in addition to the small remittances that may be sent home, upon which many family members are dependent).

    Second, demand for illegally-mined minerals is clearly strong. The activity must be profitable for illicit labour brokers and traffickers to incur the risk of transporting and recruiting people illegally. In a classic paper on the economic theory of illegal goods, Becker, Grossman and Murphy argue that if the social value of a good is lower than the private value of a good, it is more optimal to tax that good than to declare it illegal, given the substantial costs and low probability of success associated with policing. But they were examining goods such as narcotics, which generally do not have a legal competitor. Clearly, more research is required to understand the demand elasticity for illegally extracted minerals, and the relevant income and substitution effects so as to design better policies for prevention. Where parallels exist between abalone poaching and illegal mining, lessons from that domain could be helpful. In particular, focusing on syndicates that facilitate movement of ore from shafts to processing facilities to illicit markets may be more productive than trying to stop the supply of illegal miners per se (though both are necessary).

    Third, the profitability of illegal mining points to inefficiencies within the formal industry. A growing industry with functional labour relations would absorb more employees, crowding out opportunities for illicit labour broking and illegal mining. Clear, uncomplicated and coherent minerals and labour legislation is a necessary if insufficient condition for growing the industry. Some of the sufficient conditions, such as continued high commodity prices, are beyond South Africa’s control. Even if these conditions were satisfied, however, the mining industry cannot be expected to absorb the entire over-supply of unskilled labour from across the region. In the absence of complete rehabilitation and the presence of over 6 000 accessible abandoned mine shafts, regional poverty will continue to incentivise illicit activity. A more functional formal industry would however ameliorate some of these problems.

    In light of this analysis, a brisk rethink of the governance mechanisms required to foster a growing formal industry and reduce the incentive for illegal activity is clearly necessary. Regional cooperation at the highest level is also necessary to alleviate poverty and create more sustainable employment opportunities. All the relevant role players in South Africa and the rest of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) therefore need to think more carefully about economic cooperation on mining, energy and water management that would produce positive regional spill-overs. For that to happen, political will - the ultimate but sometimes elusive elixir - is a prerequisite.
    Related Materials:

    Revamping Artisanal Gold Mining in Zimbabwe to Catalyse Poverty Reduction, by Oladiran Bello and Megan Bybee, SAIIA Policy Briefing No 94 (May 2014)

    - Ross Harvey is a visiting Research Fellow with the South African Institute of International Affairs’ Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme in Cape Town. The article first appeared on AllAfrica.com.


    Ross Harvey
  • Visualising the End of Inequality - A New Path to Negotiation

    Do we live in a world where powerful men in government, powerful men in business and powerful men in army uniforms conspire to smash popular dissent to the growing inequality?

    When the Forbes magazine - not the representative of the world's poor - quotes an Oxfam report, released at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos meeting this year, that raises the obscenity of inequality - then it is time the world’s rich and powerful stand up and answer some serious questions.

    Is this just a cyclical crisis or is it a systemic one? Are the following statistics driving the crises we face today, from economic to ecological, from financial to food and burgeoning youth unemployment and to the many resource conflicts and corruption scandals that plague our world?
    • Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population;
    • The wealth of the top one percent – the richest people in the world – amounts to US$110 trillion. That is 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population;
    • The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world;
    • Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
    • The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
    There is a growing consensus that the concentration of wealth in the world in the hands of fewer and fewer people is untenable. Thomas Piketty, the world-renowned economist, in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, calls it the second Gilded Age-defined by the incredible rise of the 'one percent'.

    Where does the remaining 99 percent feature in this new age?

    I am struck by the ferocious reaction to the  National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa  (NUMSA) strike. It is described as irresponsible after the economy contracted 0.6 percent in the first quarter after it was alleged that it was caused by a five-month long platinum miners’ strike. Forgotten is that collective bargaining, which includes the right to strike for a living wage, is enshrined in the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In South Africa, it is in the Constitution and has been a cornerstone of the institution of democracy.

    Forgotten is the latest employment data, which indicates an unemployment rate of 25.2 percent in terms of the narrow definition and 35.1 percent if the broad definition is used. So is the fact that youth unemployment in the 18-35 range is today over 60 percent. So how has the ratio of dependents to a single breadwinner changed since 1994? I am sure that a single worker is supporting many more dependents than in the 80s.

    Forgotten is the fact that many of our public health facilities are in a state of collapse, with civil society organisations like the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) reporting in provinces like the Free State that the crisis means some facilities have no equipment and supplies to conduct life-saving tests and monitoring of conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease; stock-outs and shortages of drugs for many chronic conditions such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV, diabetes and epilepsy are the order of the day.

    The same applies to many of our township and rural schools. The collapse of public services in many areas means that the extended families of workers incur more expenses going to private health facilities or sending their children to former model C schools in cities.

    I can empathise when the NUMSA president, Andrew Chirwa, says that “NUMSA has an obligation to ensure a better standard of living for its members. We have no intention to send South Africa into a recession… but workers are permanently living in a recession even today.”

    Similarly, a demand to Eskom for a salary increase of 12 percent should be seen in a context where there is great speculation on how the budget for the Medupi power station has burgeoned from R52 billion in January 2007 to an estimated R145 billion with an overall delay of 48 months today.

    How have the companies such as Parsons Brinckerhoff, providing engineering and project management support; Hitachi, supplying the boilers; Alstom, providing the steam turbines; construction companies Murray and Roberts, Basil Read and Aveng; ThyssenKrupp Materials, handling contractors of the coal stockpile yard, benefited?

    Can we have a public audit of all these companies, including those whom they have paid, and the names of the shareholders? Many want to know how public money is spent and whether part of that could have gone into improving the workers' wages and working conditions.

    Workers in South Africa live in townships like Bekkersdal or Alexandra, in the heart of the richest real estate in Africa. I have been there. It will break your heart: the poverty, the overcrowding, the battle for survival. These residents feel left behind by democracy, surrounded by piles of garbage, exploding slums and dysfunctional schools and clinics.

    Families of the poor do not want charity. They do not want a scenario of one in three South Africans living on a social grant. They want the dignity of their labour. Their desperation, as they fail to meet the obligations of a breadwinner, drives wage pressure and is reflected in high levels of alcohol, drug abuse (which leads to high levels of interpersonal violence), the spike in youth delinquency, among other indicators.

    We have to redefine our growth path, our governance and our democracy. True democracy must be built through open societies that embrace the rule of law and where public institutions protect the interests of citizens. Our struggle for freedom was a struggle to have a voice. If avenues to free and open dialogue and meaningful participation are closed off and people lose trust in public institutions, then collective bargaining will become politicised.

    That is what happened in the past. I see it happening again. The strikes and protests we see sweeping South Africa reveal a fault line in our society - between a small insider elite and the majority. Our new battle is against inequality, lest we forget the fact that the Gini Coefficient (a measure of inequality) reports the stark statistic that South Africa is today the one of the most unequal countries on Earth.

    This is the time for a new dialogue in South Africa. A roadmap back to the contract we made with our people in 1994 to ‘deliver a better life’ to all our people, based on our Constitutional commitment to human dignity and justice.

    There are tough choices we need to make, before it is too late.

    - Jay Naidoo is founding General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions, former Minister in the Mandela Government and Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). You can follow him on Twitter, or visit his Facebook Page or www.jaynaidoo.org
    Jay Naidoo
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