Message for International Workers' Day statement by the UDM President (01 May 2008)

We, at United Democratic Movement, wish to congratulate the workers of South Africa on International Workers’ day for their contribution in the social and economic development of our country. For the last 15 years, South Africa has seen a decline in formal employment levels occasioned in part by the South African business practices shifting away from conventional labour intensive methods to more technologically advanced practices, which by their nature, require less human intervention. Furthermore, the economic policies of the government of South Africa have thus far proven themselves unable to adequately absorb external shocks to our economy such as the food crisis, interest rate increases, increases in oil prices and now the impending threat of electricity rate hikes. These issues deny any attempts to introduce more black people into the formal economic mainstream as they perpetuate and even worsen the current high unemployment rates. South African economic policies do not adequately cater for the ever increasing numbers youth looking to join the formal employment mainstream each year, rather the opportunities decrease with each passing year. Nedlac must include the issue of youth employment and skills development as a key agenda into their programmes and policies, to create channels for youth to take part in the formal economic stream if they are to effectively deal with the issue of high unemployment rates in South Africa.