A long time ago I used to be a shop steward for MEWUSA. Amazing that in the 20 years or so that have passed since that time, things have not really changed much. The joblessness and poverty we have now looks to me as severe as it was back then. It is also very likely to me that much of the violence we see now stems from poverty in general and the reduced income and joblessness due to the Covid 19 pandemic in particular. I think it would be a mistake [again] to blame some ‘third’ party for what has happened now. To me, that is simply a waste of time; I think that people would not easily break the law unless they were desperate.
So, what must we do to change the climate of violence?
I said it then, and I will say it again.
- We need a small basic income grant. To keep this affordable it can only apply to a certain group of people. It seems our young people (<27) are the ones who are the worst affected and afflicted by joblessness. They should be able to apply for an income grant. [As I remember there was a white paper on this. I have no idea what has become of it]
- We have to recognize that technology has taken away many jobs. We also have a fast growing population (+ many immigrants from outside South Africa) and there are now many people chasing the jobs that are still available. In order to divide the ‘pie’ of available work more equitably, we need employers to let people ‘share’ a job. In other words, if there is ONE job available, the employer should consider employing 2 people, each working 50% of the week, doing the same job.
- As we know from history, employers do not want to employ more people. They want as few employees as possible working as many hours as possible per week. However, for the BIG economy that view is actually shortsighted. There is a strange paradox. The more people ‘share’, the richer they get. It is a Godly principle. To force the employers into the right direction, government needs to introduce a shorter work week. In the case of South Africa, the situation of inequality is particularly severe. I would recommend a 32 hour work week (meaning that any hour worked more than 32 hours would have to be counted as overtime – which penalizes the employers)
Can we do this?
Eishhh…. If only we had done this 20 years ago!!!!
Cel. +27 (0)836297690