Act now to reduce unemployment…and raise education levels

HERE ARE TWO CONTROVERSIAL SUGGESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION:

1. Replace BEE with employment creation incentives:

Imagine if we stop transformation altogether; put the BEE Codes on a sunset cruise and incentivise everyone, Black and White, to create new jobs. Even if in the absurd and extreme case, this causes the entire unemployed White population to get absorbed first.

There are only 205,000 unemployed White people and 118,000 unemployed Indian people in the economy – the rest already have jobs. More importantly, most of the job opportunities can be harvested for African people via targeted job creation incentives.

2. Privatise basic education:

Subsidised public transport has been around forever. Imagine if we have subsidised private education?

If government engages with private schools and subsidises private education with the exact quantum that we spend per child in public education, we will see private schools take over most basic education in a short space of time. This subsidy can be directly linked to the parent’s ability to pay, with higher subsidies in poorer communities. The problem of poor basic education in public schools will have solved itself entirely in less than a decade.

The future of the unemployed At the current rate of expansion of the population, if 6-million new job seekers in 10 years translates into 600,000 per year, we need to create at least 3-million new jobs in the next five years just to stay at the same spot.

We’re treading water. In order to bring the 9.5-million unemployed figure down we need more – much more.

The recently released draft amendments to the Amended BEE Codes propose the exemption of all Black-owned business from compliance with the BEE Codes.

We all know what this will bring: Increased narrow based empowerment, increased fronting or ‘Black facing’ of the economy with more companies outside of the net of legislative or compliance pressure to promote and develop Black employees.

If it easier for business to create a 51% Black ownership structure to avoid compliance with the BEE Codes, many will do it, fronting or not. Unfortunately, this ‘smoke and mirrors’ non-compliance will do absolutely nothing to the unemployment numbers.

I know somewhere in this there is a high road and a low road scenario – and there may even be one where we win at everything. However, as a start it would be great to get out of the ‘let’s shoot ourselves in the foot’ scenarios.

[Statistics from CEE18 and QLFSL Q1 2018]

Deon Oberholzer | CEO | Gestalt Growth Strategies | deon@gestaltconsult.com

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