Warning over crime's effect on SA skills base

Escalating violent crime could reduce an already weak skills base in the country, an economic consultancy company said on Tuesday.

“Every effort should be made to contain negative influences like crime, especially since the South African economy is currently experiencing its most exciting growth phase since the 1960s,” director and chief economist at Econometrix, Dr Azar Jammine said.

Jammine warned that if the crime rate was not curbed, it had the potential of slowly killing South Africa’s long-term future by forcing large-scale emigration of skilled South Africans.

“A shortage of skills will stunt our growth, maybe not in the next five years, but over the long-term. In the longer run South Africa will not be able to fulfil its full potential if there is a critical lack of skills,” he said.

The economy was increasingly being supported by its tertiary sector, which included industries like finance, property and business services, transport, storage, and communications.

However, these industries relied on skilled labour, which was already in short supply.

“For now the South African economy keeps on growing despite a number of serious factors close to home that could have the potential to derail current growth,” said Jammine.

This showed that South Africa was relying heavily on foreign factors to keep the fires burning.

He added that the country’s economy remained highly dependent on foreign inflows, promoting growth through imports rather than local production.—Sapa

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