24 April 2020
The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) notes interventions, regulations and announcements made by the government of the Republic of South Africa through the economic relief package that has been presented by both the President and the Minister of Finance, and the new “levels” set of regulations to manage the reopening of the economy and possible lifting of the nationwide lockdown.
Young people are the most affected by the economic injustices of the inherited economic system of the day. The largest proportion of the unemployment, unskilled and poor people in our society is young people.
To date many students are now at home frustrated by socio-economic realities where they reside, including lack of proper network infrastructure to enable them to participate in the now migrated online learning. However, the meeting that was held between youth organizations and the Department of Higher education, Science and Technology was able to provide solutions to some of the challenges.
The YCLSA welcomes the social relief funding towards social grants, an increased expenditure on health to fight the pandemic and the continuation of NSFAS allowances. We equally welcome and commend the government for adopting a recommendation brought by the YCLSA earlier this year for a Basic Income Grant for the unemployed. However, the announcements by government has left out some key areas which affects young people and the poor in our society.
Reality is that the globalized system of capitalism which relies on nation-states can never be the solution to humanity nor will it ever seek to serve the best interest of all. The global campaign by imperialist regimes, big multinational corporations and global finance institutions serves to maintain class inequalities and exploitation of the already exploited to maintain the unjust, inhumane profit apatite of capitalism. This campaign unsurprisingly resonates well domestically with the now frustrated unpopular liberal clique of the Democratic Alliance and AfriForum that has been trying to campaign for an economic intervention which lacks even the high school Economic and Management Science literacy which states that there can be no economic activity without active people in the economy.
The YCLSA therefore brings to the attention of government the following unattended priorities and demands action:
Reopening of the informal economy
Many of the poor families in our society relies on the informal economy for sustainability. Recently, while big retail corporations were allowed to sell food in stores, the poor that lives by cooking for the workers of our country were already prohibited from operating. The recently gazetted regulations which now incorporates big business into the prohibition of cooked food seeks to mitigate an injustice that has already occurred.
Due to the injustices inherited from the past, the informal economy refers to the oppressed – both historically and today.
The YCLSA therefore calls for the immediate re-opening of sectors in the informal economy which does not pose a threat to the transmission of the virus.
Student accommodation rental relief
While appreciating massive funding allocated to students from poor and working class families by government through NSFAS, another reality is that companies which offers the services of accommodation to students continues to charge more than the amount allocated for accommodation by NSFAS. Another reality is that not all poor students are currently funded by NSFAS for various reasons.
The YCLSA calls for the government to announce and gazette for a student accommodation rental relief which will assist students and poor families not to carry any burden of debt while many students are currently at home.
Majority of young workers are currently at the risk of losing their jobs. The ill-informed and illogical principle for retrenchment which states the notion of “first in – first out” agitates the possibility of an increased youth unemployment. The YCLSA demands that government should intervene in ensuring that no young person will lose their job as a result of the lockdown.
Issued by the YCLSA
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