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South Africa Faces Rising Unemployment Ahead of 2024 Election

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Griffith Sarah

Overview of South Africa's unemployment rate increase as elections approach. Details include the rise in unemployment from 32.1% in Q4 2023 to 32.9% in Q1 2024, with the total unemployed population growing to over 8.2 million. Discusses the potential political impact on the ANC in the upcoming national election on May 29, noting the historical increase in unemployment since the ANC's rise to power. Highlights the broader unemployment measure, which includes discouraged workers, now at 41.9%.
South African youth insist on complaining about unemployment

As South Africa approaches a pivotal national election on May 29, the country grapples with a surging unemployment rate, now at 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024, up from 32.1% at the end of 2023.

According to recent data from Statistics South Africa, the number of unemployed individuals increased to 8.226 million in early 2024, up from 7.895 million in the previous quarter. This uptick in unemployment figures emerges as a major issue for voters just two weeks before the elections.

The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party since the end of apartheid, faces significant political challenges amid growing public dissatisfaction due to the worsening joblessness.

Since their rise to power nearly three decades ago, the unemployment rate has escalated by approximately 10 percentage points. Additionally, the expanded definition of unemployment, which accounts for those who have stopped seeking work out of discouragement, also rose to 41.9% in the first three months of the year, up from 41.1% in the preceding quarter.

With the ANC at risk of losing its majority, the upcoming election could be a turning point in South African politics, driven by the electorate's critical concern over increasing joblessness. This issue not only highlights the economic challenges facing the nation but also sets the stage for what could be a significant political shift.

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