Nasi Ispani an Ineffectual Election Gimmick that Preys on the Desperation of Unemployed Youth

The announcement that Premier Lesufi’s ‘Nasi Ispani’ Provincial Government programme received a staggering 1.2 million applications for just 8,000 alleged job opportunities underscores ActionSA’s view that the contemptuous scheme is an ineffectual election gimmick that preys on desperately unemployed youth while offering no hope for gainful employment.

This latest development adds impetus to ActionSA’s comprehensive legal process to expose this farcical scheme and prevent the abuse of unemployed youth as part of the ANC’s 2024 election campaign.

Lesufi launched the misguided scheme to great fanfare and the promise of multiple rounds of recruitment, creating the false impression that the Gauteng Province was in a position to address the chronic youth employment we face. This lie has since been exposed for what it was – an electioneering gimmick with no hope of having a real-work impact.

Anyone with an understanding of economics and job creation knows that schemes like ‘Nasi Ispani’ cannot succeed in addressing unemployment because they fail to generate economic activity, while doing nothing to address the binding constraints to job creation in South Africa.

Economic Prosperity is a Core Value of ActionSA, but this requires that government serves as a catalyst to job creation – not a creator of jobs. The role of government is to create an enabling environment in which the private sector can thrive and grow. It is only by expanding economic activity that we can sustainably reduce unemployment.

To unlock economic prosperity for all those who call South Africa home, an ActionSA government would take the following immediate steps:

  • Fast track prosecutions of those who are responsible for State Capture, thereby restoring confidence in our democratic institutions;
  • Relax the draconian labour laws that have a stranglehold on enterprise in this country;
  • Get rid of race-based policies that are not empowering the majority of our people and only a certain politically well-connected few;
  • Allow private energy producers to feed their generated electricity into the national grid without delay so that we can end load-shedding;
  • Increase investment into catalytic infrastructure projects, including roads, ports and rail, to improve our trade capacity and general business environment;
  • Providing additional support measures, such as targeted financial assistance and business development services, to small and medium enterprises to unlock their full potential as engines of job creation; and
  • Fast-track the development of new industries and technologies and foster a culture of innovation and competition, so that we can diversify the economy and create new sources of growth.

These initiatives are what is necessary to reduce youth unemployment in South Africa by expanding the number of job opportunities available to them. In contrast, it is clear that the ‘Nasi Ispani’ programme was instead intended as a PR stunt to give the appearance that the ANC and Lesufi has a plan to solve the unemployment crisis when in truth it was a tool to hire ANC cadres to campaign in the 2024 elections.

No number of state-sponsored jobs will ever address Gauteng’s unemployment rate, more so when those job are reserved for ANC cadres. We won’t allow the ANC and Lesufi to fool our people that their self-serving ploy will do anything to address the unemployment crisis, and we are therefore following all possible channels to demand transparency and accountability.