Companies continue to import products that could be made locally. South Africa has become an import economy while raw materials remain a key export. Food production that was once an economic pillar is being imported. This must change if we hope to create work. Since commerce is driven by profit, it operates where profits exists, thus job creation is a result of business and not necessarily its agenda. It is thus important that locals support commerce that has a long term benefit for our society. Imported products support job creation outside South Africa and add to local job loss.

For example, every year the finalists of the GQ best dressed men in South Africa are eager to discuss their imported wardrobes and jewellery. That local political and business leaders are obsessed with foreign status symbols reflects a lack of commitment to the “Proudly South African” campaign. While locals struggle to buy basic and affordable products, many leaders eagerly showcase their imported life-style.

Building a durable economy with millions of economic migrants within our borders is a challenge. The value of local labour is undermined because desperate foreigners are cheaper to employ. So, when unskilled, cheap migrant labour remains within our borders, they also burden the limited supply of water, electricity, municipal and hospital services available to locals. The burden on the ratepayer increases as the economic refugee makes a negative impact on the progress of infrastructure.

Those who live in comfort must assist the less fortunate trapped in poverty by creating local jobs. Locals should support business that has our shared long term interest at heart. Paying more for a local product may not seem patriotic; however we have to start somewhere.

According to Oscar Wilde “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is.” Those of us who have skills and the ability to create work must do so; the alternative is that the less fortunate threatens our holistic well-being out of sheer desperation.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress