Causes of Unemployment In South Africa, Effects And Possible Solutions

South Africa is one of the African countries known to have a better economic situation when compared with many other African countries. Colonized by the British, South Africa is one of the African countries known to promote ethnic diversity the most. 

However, despite this, there are also a high number of unemployed citizens in the country. Hence, this article seeks to address the possible causes of unemployment in South Africa, highlight its effects on the economy, and suggest solutions to the issue. 

Researchers have shown that about 86 percent of the 5 million unemployed people are black, while not even 3 percent are white. Therefore, unemployment is one of the major socio-economic problems faced by the country.

 Being a country with a great economy compared to many other African countries, the presence of unemployment in the country usually amazes both the citizens and the foreigners.

Just like with unemployment in many other countries, unemployment in the country is associated with poverty, violence, morale loss, social degradation, crime, political unrest, and many others

However, there is no action without any reaction. This implies that there are some underlying reasons why people are unemployed in South Africa and these reasons include the following; 

Causes of Unemployment In South Africa

  • Cost of Travel

In South Africa, the actions of the Apartheid Group Areas have led to large parts of the population living far from their workplace. The minimum wage that most of the prospective employers would consider is high despite the absence of cheap public transport, including the considerable cost of travelling.

For most South Africans, there is no point in travelling to work just to pay three-quarters of the travel expense of your wages?

  • Sub-Standard Educational Level

According to the researches, there is the presence of poor education level generally across the country. This leads to a mismatch of so many unskilled laborers which is unbalanced with insufficient skilled labor. In addition to this, the growth in tertiary sectors of the economy has worsened the case in the expense of primary, particularly the mining and agricultural sectors, at a level that is faster than the level the country can be retrained. 

  • Increased Poverty Level

The long-standing unemployed are almost unemployable. This leads to skills becoming rusty and the ability to work therefore deteriorates effectively over time. Therefore, there is higher structural unemployment which results from periods of high cyclical unemployment.

In order to give them the work experience and skills to become employable in the future, The country is actively involved in employing the youths even if they will be enrolled in a subsidized salary structure.

As an unemployed, it is very difficult to maintain a very good average living standard, health, and being presentable, this, therefore, makes it very difficult for prospective employers to hire such citizens. 

  • Second-Order Effects of Shortages of Skills

This is another major cause of unemployment in South Africa. Acquiring the wrong skills makes it almost impossible to get a job. In addition, having an overall shortage of skilled labor in the economy will definitely restrict the job prospects from more skilled labor. This can arguably have significant consequences for the promotion of professional immigration and the restriction of the brain drain.

  • Pride And Self-Value

Pride and self-value are two major causes of unemployment in many countries including South Africa. When about a fifth of the population is unemployed, there will likely be very little stigma attached to being unemployed. Hence, the desire to accept jobs will be very lowermost especially if the wages to be paid is small.

  • Mismatch Between Labour Demand And Supply

The issue of mismatch between the labour supply and demand has been a very pressing issue in South Africa over the years without any concrete solutions provided for it. The labour supply is known to be greatly affected by the increased rate of women, most especially African women. In the country, there is less number of jobs that are available in the labor market compared to the number of people working. 

Effects of Unemployment In South Africa

  • Mental Health Deterioration

Unemployment in South Africa has been known to lead to significant mental health issues, especially for individuals who have made their job their sole purpose in life. These individuals will also find themselves in a challenging mental state because, once they become unemployed, they essentially lose their entire life. Some people may even feel unworthy because they have to stay at home rather than go to work, which may lead to mental disorders such as depression.

  • Increased Homelessness

In South Africa, there is an increase in homelessness which is caused by unemployment. People who become unemployed may struggle to maintain their homes, particularly in cities with high rents, as they will no longer be able to pay their rent.

These people may end up homeless after they lose their homes if they do not have family members or friends who can help them out with accommodation.

Other Effects of Unemployment in South Africa include the following;

  • Physical Health issues
  • Lower Life Expectancy
  • Homelessness
  • Drug Use
  • Poverty
  • Social Isolation
  • Adverse Effects on children
  • Economic effects
  • Increase Illegal activities

Solutions To Unemployment In South Africa

In order to solve the issue of unemployment in South Africa, it is important to tackle the source of the problem.

However, the following solutions can be considered in order to solve the menace of unemployment in South Africa include

  • Offering better education
  • Organization of motivations programs
  • Organization of programs tailored against drug addiction and homelessness
  • Fighting discrimination
  • Organization of support programs for mental issues
  • Subsidies for companies reintegrating unemployed individuals
  • Fight structural unemployment
  • Creation of jobs

South Africa is a developed country when compared with many other African countries. However, in order to maintain that position, it is very important for the country to tackle the issue of unemployment.