Hon House Chair, fellow hon members, salutations to the Commander-in-Chief, and the people of South Africa. I would like also to salute the generation of 1976, who were the ancestors of the fighters that we went to salute when we formed the EFF before going to Marikana to salute the current fallen heroes who are fighting for economic emancipation in their lives. [Applause.]
We have been asked today to come and debate youth development. Let me first begin by describing and defining what the youth is. The youth is a generation of people who are in transition between childhood dependency and adulthood independence. This transition is largely about economics, where we enable a generation to succeed in becoming truly economically self- sufficient.
In South Africa, though, this has not been the case for many decades, particularly for black people. In particular, we know that black people have been working under precarious conditions for many years. Under apartheid the state ensured through the migrant labour system, firstly, but also through many laws that black people do not work under decent labour conditions. They work without pension funds, without medical aid schemes, housing allowances, and without prospects for education or to educate their children. This is not an accident or a dysfunction of an economic system. It was actually designed that way.
The apartheid government needed to make sure that at all times there are masses of black people who are available as cheap and easily disposable labour. It trapped for the longest possible period the majority of black people as permanent juniors. Therefore we call this process the process of "permanent juniorisation". You trap black people as people who must constantly be unable to be economically self-sufficient ... [Applause.] ... to depend on grants, to always live at the feet, begging for the crumbs that fall from the master's table.
During the past twenty years, what has the democratic state done to crush this legacy of shameful black living and of blacks who cannot be proud of their lives? Firstly, the democratic government has kept that process of permanent juniorisation consistently uninterrupted. They have become part of those people who make sure that at all times capitalists find available en masse black people who are cheap and easily disposable.
How have they done this? They did this through the consistent and unapologetic, uninterrupted implementation of neoliberal policies. What are these policies? They are flexible labour, to make sure that the many people in this country who work in Edgars, who work in Shoprite, remain under labour brokers. What does that guarantee? Cheap and easily disposable black labour.
Secondly, they have ensured that and they celebrate it. They call for, from Growth, Employment and Redistribution, Gear, to the NDP, low wages. They have made it a point that the wages are low so that capital is able to celebrate coming to invest in South Africa, because it knows that it does not have to be responsible for preying on our people. They have kept them there, low, because the purpose of the democratic government is no different from the purpose of the apartheid government, and that is to make sure that as many black people as possible are available in their numbers as cheap and easily disposable labour.
Lastly, by the way, the majority of the workforce earns R3 300 or less. Under the ANC government as well, the unemployment rate has risen from 15% in 1994 to 35% today, or 37% - depending on which statistics you read - and the majority of these remain the youth, who are largely black young people.
According to Stats SA's labour market survey of 2014, this month, of those who are employed, young people are more likely to be employed on a contract of limited duration than on a permanent contract. The share of young people employed on a permanent contract also declined over the period 2008 to 2012 from 53,6% to 21,6%.
Members of the ruling party will come here to celebrate the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP, which is a programme of constantly availing, at the very lowest price, masses of black people and they make it a priority of the black youth to work at menial labour, the jobs that apartheid always wanted them to do, low-paid and on a temporal contract, because they must always be available at cheap rates, and they must be easily dismissible. [Applause.]
Capitalism in South Africa never wants to pay wages. And the terrified ANC government has now even made the offer to pay on their behalf the wages of our people. They have offered to take the taxpayers' money to pay them through what they call the youth wage subsidy. [Applause.] Why does the ANC government not force companies to pay decent wages and employ people directly on decent contracts, where they pay them and make sure that they have money to take their children to school; pay them decent wages to make sure that at all times they are able to have quality health care. They don't do that, because they are terrified. [Time expired.] [Applause.]