By Daniel Itai, Johannesburg, South Africa
“We have realised that some of these companies are exploiting our African brothers and sisters bypassing labour laws this has to stop. Moreover, we now want to see a 60:40 percent ratio in terms of employment between South Africans and our African brothers and sisters. We will be conducting a nationwide survey to ensure that this is implemented,” said Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in yesterday’s presser.
The issue of employment parity between South Africans and migrants has over the years raised grave concerns with many South Africans accusing migrants of taking their jobs and accepting low wages.
Regardless, Dr. Vusumuzi Sibanda, chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) welcomed Malema’s proposal citing that government should implement it.
“The issue of the 60:40 employment cap ratio is not such a bad idea it’s actually an optimistic view. It’s a good proposal though it might not happen like that because they are sectors where you don’t even find migrants and sectors which are full of migrants.
However, the implementation of this proposal is something which the department of Labour has to look into because the EFF might not have the expertise and capacity to do that but it’s definitely something that can be done by the department of Labour,” said Dr. Sibanda.
Kennedy Mandaza, ZANU-PF’s spokesperson in South Africa also welcomed the proposal, “the remarks of the EFF leader, Julius Malema, are an indication of their intended policy position regarding rationalising employment in South Africa. The remarks come at a time when there is discussion in the country on rising unemployment and discussion within government and political parties on what proportion of jobs should be reserved for foreigners.
It comes therefore not a surprise that the EFF leader has made his contribution to this ongoing discussion. As long as his contribution does not aid discriminatory tendencies and does address the issue of xenophobia, skills and expertise required in maintaining a stable economy, the percentages are fair.
Any policy that government will then put in place should be ventilated on the basis of the vision and thrust of the government and I have no doubt that the government has that capacity to listen and legislate policies that address the concerns of both the South African nationals and foreigners for the growth and sustenance of the South African economy and stable workplace in all sectors including the food industry,” said Mandaza.