Turning the tide

My letter refers to the ‘‘Agriculture job creation questioned’’ article in the Farmer’s Weekly, (15 June 2012).

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While we understand that the media cannot be mere recipients of information without interrogating it, we are dumbfounded that the question of job creation has come under the spotlight in the manner that it has in the article. Surely the agriculture department deserves some recognition, above all, for creating employment far surpassing the 500 000 target that was set by government.

The article quotes that “Stats SA generates data that is of fairly good quality and generally quite accurate…”, therefore it makes no sense that the very institution that is praised for its quality and accuracy is cast under this cloud of doubt because its figures don’t match up to sentiment. The role of Stats SA is not to confirm public opinion, but to give figures to demonstrate certain trends. Since 2008, the world’s largest economies have battled to protect themselves against escalating job losses. South Africa hasn’t been spared.

The very Stats SA report articulates that the biggest employee losses have mainly been in the construction and manufacturing industries. The agriculture industry, on the other hand, has grown from strength to strength. We mustn’t forget that this is the same industry that has been shedding jobs since the 1970s.

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These figures demonstrate that we are turning the tide in reversing the devastation experienced before and during the 2008 recession. While we appreciate the interest that these figures have stirred and welcome warranted criticism, we will continue to work tirelessly to create sustainable employment. A pessimistic attitude will do little to strengthen the work we are doing.