South Africa’s Statistics Agency will today publish the country’s official third quarter unemployment rate. South Africa has faced chronically high
South Africa’s Statistics Agency will today publish the country’s official third quarter unemployment rate.
South Africa has faced chronically high unemployment for decades. In September, Pretoria announced that the official unemployment rate fell from 30.1% to 23.3% as a result of the scaling back of pandemic lockdowns. Simultaneously, the number of formally employed people in South Africa fell by 600,000 to a nine-year low, and real unemployment rose from 39.7% to 42%. With many pandemic-related business restrictions still in place throughout the country, companies continue to lay off staff and the country remains in its longest recession in 28 years.
As unemployment levels rise, Pretoria is being roiled with allegations that up to 67% of pandemic funds earmarked for the purchase of medical goods has been misspent and pilfered. As economic disbursements have been paused for investigators to look into $647 million of missing funds, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)—the nation’s largest organised labour federation—has taken to the streets to demand economic assistance and denounce corruption. If President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government is not transparent about misspent pandemic relief, groups like COSATU will stall their domestic agenda and give opposition parties a unifying issue to challenge the president in future elections.
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