OPINION / 11 OCTOBER 2017, 7:02PM / LETTER
A few thoughts on the minimum wage. South Africa’s economy is not in the doldrums, it is worse… It is in a terrible state.
The reasons for this serious matter have been debated repeatedly, inter alia, the "poor global economy, the exploitation by mining and other companies of labour, the damaging labour laws which were generally seen as too restrictive, questionable policies, enriching the wrong people through Black Economic Empowerment", and so on.
File photo: AP
Pillaging the country’s resources are proceeding on a grand scale: if it is not stripping our coastline of abalone, then it is depleting the crayfish reserves or the fish stock, in general.
Rhinos, elephants, lions, antelope – all the country’s natural assets – are being plundered.
Selling contraband cigarettes at R6 to R10 per packet when the duty to Sars alone is about R16 per packet apparently is costing Sars billions in lost revenue. (Perhaps it will help if this duty is reduced to a low base of a few rand again.)
The scale of theft by generalised and gradually institutionalised corruption, aggravated by the demons of state capture drains Sars of trillions of rand and makes the burden on the regular taxpayer impossible.
All of that is common knowledge, but a way should be found to communicate the consequences of the above effectively and continuously to the electorate across the board; co-operative efforts by all parties in this regard would be welcome.
Despite the fact that Bell Pottinger and KPMG turned around on their vastly damaging reports, while false slogans like "white monopoly capital" refuse to go away, the damage is already entrenched.
Are there solutions?
One idea that comes to mind is to modify the labour laws: keep them for mines, state-owned enterprises or whatever, but relax these laws for people with incomes less than a certain ceiling, so that entrepreneurs from poor or middle-class incomes can feel free to employ, hire and fire. In other words why not make it easy for less well-off people to get started?
There are millions of people in the country who would love to have a job, just as there are millions reluctant to employ, because of the well-intended, but damaging minimum wage restrictions. How do we help South Africans get and hold a job?
As for corruption and theft, those are moral issues only to be tackled by an informed electorate.
Our constitution pre-supposed a decent, honourable, honest Parliament… That the present situation could arise was unthinkable by the people who wrote the constitution.
LINK - https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/opinion/relaxing-restrictive-laws-could-open-up-job-market-11551197