What is in the DA claim of ‘real jobs’?

What is in the claim of ‘real jobs’?

  – The DA has conveniently not marched to the  head-offices of private sector entities –

Perhaps it is only correct to start by expressing an opinion on the DA march to Luthuli House and the ANC’s response. The ANC at times can prove very small, thus not respecting who it really is. There was absolutely no need to attempt blocking the march in court appeal. We all knew the court would rule against the ANC.  Furthermore there was absolutely no need to rally ANC supporters en-masse to come and form a human chain around Luthuli House. All the ANC leadership had to do was to welcome the DA march, and direct them to know that the address for the DA grievance  in regards ‘real jobs’ is not Sauer Street but Pretoria. The ANC unnecessarily gave the DA the upper hand in proving reactionary and almost scared for a very normal activity in SA. The approach from the ANC to this march proved emotional and lacking in tactical wit. Hence, they lost this one in my assessment.

Back to my topic of what is a real job, I am trying to wrap my small mind around what is deemed by the DA as “real jobs.” The DA has organised a march to the ANC- Chief Luthuli House in Sauer Street downtown Jozi to register their concern on the subject of real jobs for they challenge the ANC 2014 Manifesto that has set a commitment to create 6 million jobs.

It is a given that the promised 6 million jobs will have an EPWP temporal setting for periodic employment definition. Yet this claim of “real jobs” the subject of the DA march today is not without scrutiny. What is a real job in our changing world of employment? 

My simple logic is a job is the result of someone selling his/her labour or skills to those who require and need it for an agreed rate with specified agreeable terms. Now I am not dealing with the historical imbalances of job creation of apartheid etc., and all that because I think that is not the subject here and now.

On the other side of the spectrum of demands for ‘real jobs’ sits organised labour, who equally echoes the DA’s calls for real jobs though not for the same obvious reasons. Organised labour has kept the ANC led government carceral to an almost inordinate control insisting that it cannot move forward on for example the youth subsidy model as a means of alleviating an ever-increasing job seeking population.

Organised labour has stake in what they deem permanent jobs because organised labour can easier manage and harvest subsidies from permanent work force. The claim of a higher prevalence of temporal workers who will not necessarily subscribe to the idea or concept of associating with labour federations’ drives the misnomer those temporal jobs threatens permanent jobs.

Well back to the question of ‘what is a real job’? We know that the definition of jobs can hardly be so narrowly defined and scripted in someone clocking in at 8 and leaving at 5pm, with a bonus or 13th cheque, a lunchtime hour, pension/provident fund, medical aid and housing subsidy. There are hundreds of thousands of people who daily ply their trade in SA, outside the narrow description of a job as organised labour has defined. It is thus cheap and untruthful to act as if a job defined by organised labour is the full story of what a job entails.

Therefore, if a job is understood as labour or resource, based on the selling of time and skill to another for an agreed rate, in which one may work for 30 days, 120 days or 1825 (5years) as most contracted stuff be it directors or staff stand. What is the difference between being employed for 1825 days (5years) and 180 days (6 months)? In the naked sense, there is no difference except for a number of days. Hence which of the two would constitute a real job and if so why? Off course, there will be those who will argue it is not that simple, yet I think it is not that complicated.

The DA’s call for ‘real jobs’ rings hollow, on four levels the same I shall herewith attempt elaborating:

  • Firstly, the lack of job growth is a global phenomenon in developing and developed economies, which means it is not something unique to SA. This does not mean we should not review and make the necessary changes to accommodate a better growth cycle informed by enabling environment. Yet to act that as if this unique for us is to play precarious political games with an election in the offing.
  • Secondly, it also fails to appreciate the fact that the year on year last quarter (2012-2013) statistics for job creation shows a marked change with a positive 645000 created for the said period of comparison. This is the first growth seen in a period of 7 consecutive declines and job losses that started in 2009. This may not be all worth applauding if the immense challenge of job creation is considered yet one cannot act as if there has been no job creation in this administration.
  • Thirdly, the DA has no alternative and workable plan, to the current world SA specific challenges of lack of job creation. The DA governs the Western Cape and therefore implements policies in line with their exacted mandate, which the voters extended, yet we have not seen remarkable job creation in disparity of claim as is advanced in comparison to ANC led provinces. Can the DA release the statistics for the last 5 years for their ‘real jobs’ created by its governance.
  • Lastly, the DA has not staged any march to the owners of the means of production immanent in private sector. If we accept that the private sector remains essentially responsible for the creation of jobs, why have we not seen the same energy and verve on the part of the DA to march on the private sector in claim of ‘real jobs’? We see right through this transparent move and cannot but see the DA for what it is and always will be, a party interested in protecting a certain sector of our society at any cost.

Ultimately, governments do not create jobs; governments must ensure an enabling environment in which jobs can be created by those who best know how to do it. Equally, job hunters must be afforded the right to sell their labour and skill at a rate agreeable no different to formal employer and employee, not hamstrung by an organised labour that controls a percentage of what is the labour force. We know that the majority of the employed are not attached to organised labour structures.

In the final analysis the subject of a ‘real job’ is and remains a myth.  It is more an expedient political claim often advanced as a means to sweep up emotions when we prove less honest to admit we have firstly to acknowledge that jobs are jobs and has little do with a being ‘real’ or ‘permanent’ as advanced by the DA and Organised labour. There is no difference between a 5-year contract and a 1-year temporal contract.

Therefore, who is being deceived in this convoluted claim of real jobs and permanent jobs, can we accept people in SA are at work, perhaps not in the ‘formal’ and ‘permanent’ setting of what we wrongly have for too long with scrutiny accepted as  a job.

Then again what do I know; after all, I am jobless according to those who talk of permanent, formal, and real jobs.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent observer


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