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Government quotas for foreign workers: ‘nonsense’ or much-needed intervention?

An economist and the public have mixed reactions over the government’s proposed employment quota for foreigners.

Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi announced earlier this week the proposed National Labor Migration Policy (NLMP) that will introduce quotas on the number of documented foreign nationals with work visas who can be deployed in key economic sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, tourism. and construction.

This is because South Africa’s stagnant economy has led to record unemployment and little to no job creation.

Economist Dawie Roodt said the workforce in South Africa is mostly made up of unskilled people in terms of qualifications and experience.

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Roodt laughed at the idea of ​​introducing quotas in the labor sector.

“In terms of qualifications, the percentage of unskilled workers is 90%. Only 10% of people have after-school qualifications, meaning the other 90% are unskilled,” he said.

Roodt added that a matric qualifier was hardly a meaningful qualifier.

Roodt said there is no point in chasing foreigners away to create jobs for South Africans.

“Creating jobs is a ridiculous idea. Nobody wants to create work, but we want to grow the economy. One of the consequences of economic growth happens to be job creation,” he explains.

Roodt said subsidizing companies to hire young people and putting flags on the side of the road don’t create jobs, but keep people busy.

“The reason for this bill was because the plans had run out, ask the finance minister for his forecast of the growth of our economy,” he said.

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Elize van Niekerk, co-owner of a metal company, is against the proposed quota law.

“Frankly, foreigners work harder, even at the proposed daily wage, they don’t complain about anything,” she said.

Van Niekerk also said that because foreigners are not members of unions, they do not strike.

“They work hard and don’t say it’s not in their job description, they’re willing to work,” she said.

Lynda Barnard, owner of Tiny Tigers Preschool, said she was happy with the Zimbabwean caregivers who work for her.

“One of my employees has been with me for ten years and I must admit she is very good,” said Barnard.

Restaurant owner Danie Toerien said the quotas don’t affect him because his ducks were lined up.

Toerien said he employed local and foreign nationals whose paperwork is up to date. However, he complained about the government’s meddling in his affairs.

“First the sports quota and now this, where are they going to stop?” he said.

Toerien questioned how the government might use Cuban doctors, but insisted that the private sector hire local staff.

Jomo Baloyi, who sells ice cream at the Union Buildings, said a quota was a good thing.

“There are a lot of people who have fought for this country and are now not working,” he said.

Baloyi accused foreigners of entering the country illegally and using crime to make money, without providing evidence for his claims.

“We can admit foreigners, but they must be allowed and it must be restricted,” he said.

Prosperous Masanabo said he thinks there are not enough jobs for everyone in South Africa.

“Maybe this quota can benefit both, but there are too many foreigners,” he said.

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