Madam Deputy Speaker, unemployment remains the greatest threat to South Africa's democracy and it mocks the promise of a better life for all. President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation address showed why South Africa did not have confidence in his government to create jobs.
Baswa ba Afrika Borwa ba lla ka megokgo. Ba llela me?omo. Kgopelo ya ka ke gore rena re le baemedi ba set?haba Palamenteng ye, re kwe sello sa bona. Ge re ka se se kwe gomme ra se ba thu?e gore ba hwet?e me?omo, gona naga ye ya gaborena e tla buna masetlapelo gomme demokrasi ye ya rena ya folot?a. (Translation of Sepedi paragraph follows.)
[Young people in South Africa are complaining. They are complaining about the lack of jobs. As the representatives of the public in Parliament, we have to respond to their concern. If we do not respond to their concern and help them find jobs, our country will be in crisis and our democracy would have failed.]
The National Planning Commission, NPC, believes that the country can create 11 million jobs by 2030. This would be achieved by building partnerships between the public sector, business and labour to facilitate, direct and promote investment in labour-intensive areas, and by strengthening the functioning of the labour market to improve skills acquisition, match job seekers and job openings and reduce conflict.
To achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan, NDP, requires leadership to implement change and above all, to inspire every South African to make medium-term sacrifices for longer-term rewards. The President's address last week failed on all three counts: leadership, implementation and the ability to inspire sacrifice.
The National Planning Commission expresses the challenge of adaptive leadership pointedly, "Leaders, especially in government, must also face up to difficult decisions and trade-offs." Indeed, this is the time for tough decisions and trade-offs if we are to fight and defeat unemployment. This will require all of us to make sacrifices for the national good. We must review the labour laws to make them job creation-friendly.
One of the most meaningful definitions of inequality in South Africa today is between those who have jobs and those who do not. We need to guard against the employed being unable to imagine the plight of their fellow South Africans who don't have jobs. As painful as it is, we need to recognise that the world has changed. Many workers in the European Union, for instance, are being asked to work fewer hours to allow young people to enter the job market.
Global competition, cheap goods made in China and India and technological innovation are also playing a part in changing the labour environment. People are being given greater flexibility to manage their working time. Many working people no longer wish to be in traditional permanent employment. Our labour laws need to adapt to this growing trend, not go against the grain of reality. As legislatures, our primary role must be to make sure that all workers are treated fairly and paid appropriately.
In a job-stressed economy such as ours it would be an abdication of responsibility for this Parliament to pass a law that denies even one South African a job opportunity. This is exactly what the ruling party's alliance partner, Cosatu, wants us to do. The union federation wants Parliament to pass a law banning private employment agencies, or as we like to call them, labour brokers. I believe such a law will clash directly with a constitutional push for every citizen to access work opportunities.
Section 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is very clear on this matter:
Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely. The practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.
The President must impress upon the ANC alliance partner, Cosatu, to support the regulation of labour brokers as proposed in the amendment to the relevant section of the Labour Relations Act. The government must work diligently to remove noncompliant agencies. For the sake of labour market peace and stability, the Labour Relations Act must also be amended to replace the "winner takes all" majoritarianism entrenched in our collective bargaining system. The Marikana tragedy was a lesson we must heed. Non-majority unions can no longer be ignored. They must be included in the collective bargaining processes. So, let us never fear to negotiate; let us never negotiate out of fear. With cool tempers, we must reach a consensus on the principle of non-majority union representation. We must determine the relevant thresholds for recognition and participation in collective bargaining.
This country cannot afford another series of very costly violent unprotected strikes such as the ones we experienced last year. South Africa can rise to these challenges if and only if we have the courage to summon forth the political will. Here I have to say: No amount of talking and spinning can explain away the Nkandla scandal. No amount of praise-singing and fawning on President Jacob Zuma will change this fact. I thank you. [Applause.]