While South Africa’s economy is unable to absorb huge numbers of the unemployed, a lesser traditional approach to income generation may be the solution.
This is the word from Direct Selling Association of South Africa (DSA) chairperson Rajesh Parshotam, responding to the record-high 34,4% unemployment rate released by Stats SA this week.
Parshotam warns this is a disturbing crisis that cannot be ignored.
“When you include those who have stopped seeking employment, media reports say our unemployment rate is now the highest in the world at 44,4%.”
He says many avenues for income generation continue to be disregarded or given little consideration by authorities.
“For several years, the DSA has been championing the direct selling industry as a viable and sustainable alternative to traditional entrepreneurship with few barriers to entry,” says Parshotam.
“This is an industry that has created business opportunities for more than 850 000 individuals in South Africa and generates more than R9-billion in annual sales.”
Direct selling is not only a part-time income-earning opportunity. For those facing economic hardship, direct selling offers a long-term business opportunity. Parshotam says the direct selling industry provides full-time careers to more than 170 000 people in South Africa.
In the previous reporting period, direct sellers earned a combined R2,4-billion.
“Millions of people around the world from varying backgrounds who started with little or nothing have been able to live comfortable lifestyles as direct sellers,” says Parshotam.
At present, direct selling provides regular income to a significant number of people in South Africa and around the world. Parshotam says there is room to involve more jobless people in direct selling provided they are willing to embrace this avenue of entrepreneurship.
“The structure of our economy and indeed that of the rest of the world is changing at a very rapid pace,” says Parshotam. “It is time that we accept that traditional work as we have known it will be open to a limited number of people.
“We need to start promoting an approach that lets people take control of their destiny as opposed to becoming employees as traditional employment opportunities will continue to dwindle.”
Parshotam warns that unless there is wider realisation that income generation is fast becoming an individual’s responsibility, the unemployment rate will continue to rise.