Modern slavery in the post-1994 South Africa? A critical ethical analysis of the National Development Plan promises for unemployment in South Africa


In African ethics, work is not work if it is not related to God or gods. Work, or umsebenzi, is for God or gods ultimately; work without God is the definition of slavery in my interpretation of the African ethical value system. If one succeeds from that understanding to define what slavery is, then God-lessness in work might imply the need for us to search for the gods of modernity post-1994 that have dethroned God, if they have not disentangled work from God. This article looks at the problem of unemployment by analysing the National Development Plan (NDP) and in particular the solutions proposed in relation to unemployment in South Africa. The article examines the language and grammar of the NDP to evaluate its response to the violent history of cheap, docile and migratory labour in South Africa.