An economist has warned that while the number of people employed has increased, South Africans still need a mindset change in seeking employment.
Professor Bonke Dumisa said the problem was that South Africans were job seekers and that there was not enough entrepreneurship.
He was speaking after Statistics SA released employment figures this week which found that the number of employed people had increased by 149 000 to 16.5 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
Unemployment decreased from 27.5% to 27.1%.
The figures also showed that there was an increase of 70 000 people not economically active which contributed to an overall figure of 108 000 who had become discouraged job seekers.
KwaZulu-Natal saw a 2.6 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate in last year’s fourth quarter, October to December.
This was an increase from the third quarter.
The unemployment rate in the province was at 25.6% last quarter. KZN and the Eastern Cape were the only provinces that had a growth in unemployment rates.
“The government’s job is not to create jobs,” said Dumisa.
“The government’s job is to create an environment where businesses can thrive. People should not be fooled by political parties which promise jobs in their election manifestos, as this is not the job of government, and the parties will blame each other when they are not able to deliver on their promises.”
He felt a mindset change was needed from a job-seeking one to an entrepreneurial one.
“This requires the education system to change,” Dumisa said.
He also pointed to the entrepreneurial spirit of foreigners who were able to spot opportunities, start their own business in South Africa, and provide professional services.
“It is wrong of South Africans to complain that foreigners are taking their jobs, whereas it was the locals who were not able to identify opportunities that foreigners were able to see.”