The Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) will be joining the #NationalShutdown on Wednesday, 24 August 2022 to demand tangible solutions to our current economic crisis. It is deplorable that 28 years into our democracy, the poor and the marginalised continue to live in inhumane conditions. The South African government continues to fail to deliver on its promise of a better life for all. Neoliberal policies and systematic corruption is crippling the country. Ordinary South Africans suffer.
Tax the rich!
Millions of South Africans go to bed hungry each week, while the rich siphon billions of rands to tax safe havens through profit shifting and wage evasion. Research has shown that halting profit shifting by transnational corporations would help to raise more than R100 billion in revenue each year. We also know that a small net wealth tax on the top 1% can raise more than R140 billion annually. This is not even mentioning the billions lost to corruption each year. Hence, we call on the government to stop the looting and to tax the rich who have become even richer during the Covid-19 pandemic to address the deep inequalities and hunger in our country.
Implement a Basic Income Grant!
Proceeds from a wealth tax will help fund a decent Basic Income Grant of R1500 per month for all unemployed between the ages of 18-59, including caregivers, home-based workers and precarious workers who earn below the national minimum wage. This will bring much-needed relief to millions of South Africans who are languishing in poverty.
The introduction of a BIG would be the first step to addressing the deep crisis of hunger that is driven by mass unemployment. With almost 13 million people unemployed in the country when discouraged workers are included, unemployment is a ticking time bomb. We are witnessing the horrendous effects of this crisis in our communities as mental illness, violent crimes, drug and alcohol abuse are escalating daily.
Besides the introduction of a decent BIG, we also want work. We’ve also been supporting the One Million Climate Jobs campaign since it was introduced by the AIDC in 2011. We believe that not only will this create employment, but it will also address the climate crisis.
The government has failed to produce sustainable job creation programmes and we believe that they should look at alternative ideas including incorporating the Right2Work in the SA Constitution.
No to the privatization of Eskom!
We call on the government to fix the energy crisis that is negatively affecting the country’s productivity. We are against the privatization of our energy sector. The government should #FixEskom and invest to transform Eskom into a fully public renewable energy utility. Keep Eskom fully public to provide renewable energy as a public good. Included in this should be an increase in the provision of free basic electricity from 50 kwh per household per month to at least 200 kwh per household per month. Many more households should be provided with FBE as well.
No to Austerity!
We call for an end to austerity (budget cuts). The government is already struggling to meet its constitutional obligations to the majority of people. The extreme austerity imposed by the Treasury is becoming the most painful and destructive policy we have experienced since the end of apartheid. Just recently, austerity claimed two lives in Mpumalanga where two municipal workers were shot dead while protesting for a decent wage. The current austerity measures are having a negative impact on service delivery and hinder the proper functioning of government institutions. We call on South Africans, the working class, employed and unemployed, to unite and demand an end to austerity.
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