South Africa’s Unemployment Rate Rises to 32.9% Ahead of Election

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South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to 32.9% in the first quarter of this year, up from 32.1% in the previous quarter, according to recent data. This marks the second consecutive quarter of increase, bringing the rate closer to the record high above 35% recorded in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. With national elections scheduled for May 29, joblessness remains a significant concern for voters, potentially impacting the outcome.

The governing African National Congress (ANC), in power since the end of apartheid, faces a challenge to maintain its majority, as opinion polls indicate a risk of losing support. The country’s job market has seen a gradual decline over the past three decades, with unemployment rising about 10 percentage points since the ANC took office.

Despite efforts by the ANC government to address unemployment, such as creating temporary benefits for the unemployed during the pandemic, poverty remains pervasive, with over 60% of South Africans living below the poverty line. The number of unemployed individuals rose to 8.226 million in the first quarter of this year, prompting concerns about economic stability and social welfare.

Source: Reuters

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