According to SA Labour News it was reported by News24 that the former general secretary of labour federation Cosatu, Zwelinzima Vavi, said on Wednesday that the unemployment figures released by Statistics SA revealed a horror story of unbelievably bad news for workers and the South African economy.

SA teetering on a knife-edge, says Vavi after release of unemployment data

“Now more than ever we need to declare that we have a national emergency.  No country can survive such levels of unemployment and low growth, a situation which is made even worse by the ongoing crisis in Eskom and a drought which has caused agricultural production to fall by 16.6%,” Vavi said in a statement.  Statistics SA released its quarterly labour force survey in Cape Town on Tuesday, which showed that SA’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2015 was at its highest level since 2003.  Vavi highlighted the more realistic expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who have given up looking for work and which now stands at 36.1%, meaning that 8.7 million South Africans who were able to work, were unable to do so.  “What is even more alarming is that on the same day, Statistics SA reported that economic growth in the first quarter of 2015 was a paltry 1.3%, down from 4.1% in the last quarter of 2014.  That means the prospect of any early relief for the unemployed is fading fast,” Vavi said.  He launched strong criticism at President Jacob Zuma for telling Parliament on Tuesday that “our country is doing very well” and said this was “outrageous denialism”.