The recent quarterly employment statistics from March to June 2021 reconfirmed the dire socio-economic situation our country finds itself in – another 86 000* jobs lost (-0.9%) with the associated contraction in disposable incomes and knock-on social and economic hardships.
With local municipal elections on our doorstep, it is easy to demand job creation and improved service delivery, but growing the economy is everyone’s job. Not just the government or big business. Every consumer has the potential to impact the livelihoods of every citizen by actively choosing to BUY LOCAL and Specify South Africa. From household staples such as milk and eggs, to the procurement policies of multinational companies, deliberately sourcing from local suppliers keeps the capital outflows inland instead of sending them abroad. By actively choosing to buy from the local farmer or factory, favouring local goods and services means the difference between feeding another family or not – with the commensurate economic and social benefits of higher company profits, taxation, increased consumption, improved social services, living standards and dignity.
This is borne out by the statistics¹. The worrying decline in gainful employ in Q2 was largely due to decreases in the community services (-65 000 or -2.3%), manufacturing (-15 000 or -1.4%), construction (-7 000 or -1.4%), electricity (-1 000 or -1.7%) and business services (-1 000 or -0%)*. Tempting as it may be to blame covid-19 or bemoan the misappropriation of government funds, let’s imagine an increased expenditure on the construction of community services such as clinics, schools and/or housing. We all know there is a pressing need for ALL of these things in South Africa. This would increase demand for electricity, business services to support those communities and local goods and services to feed those communities, effectively impacting every one of those aforementioned industries and reversing the decline in employment statistics.
FloorworX is a local flooring manufacturer that supplies vinyl composite tiles (VCT) and sheeting made from locally sourced limestone to hospitals, clinics and schools. Based in East London, their factory employs 50 people for four-days a week, feeding on average eight people per household. That means 400 people directly benefit from the 50 jobs on offer. That’s apart from the jobs of contractors and installers, their raw material suppliers and services/operational costs such as electricity and water. If demand for their SuperFlex doubled – say through multiple hospital and education projects – the required output would add another shift to their operation, taking their employment capacity to 100, now affecting 800 people. Aside from the added employment opportunities, the increased capacity would have a knock-on effect through increased raw material procurement, higher operational costs and hopefully, added profitability and consequently taxation and improved fiscal outlook in the long run.
¹Source: (STATSA, 2021, “Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES),” June 2021, http://www.statssa.gov.za/?page_id=1854&PPN=P0277&SCH=72993P0277)
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