Back to Africa Check

No, EFF didn’t say 40% of jobs in South Africa must go to ‘African foreigners’

The Economic Freedom Fighters opposition political party “prioritizes and endorses the employment of foreigners in South Africa”, claims a message posted on the Facebook page “Put South Africans First” on 28 October 2020.

“In a country of 52% unemployment, they are saying that 40% of jobs should be given to African foreigners,” it reads. “Meanwhile we South Africans stand no chance of being employed in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Malawi, etc. This is the Pan Africanism they are shoving down our throats.”

Has the EFF called for 40% of South African jobs to be given to foreign nationals from other African countries?


Minimum 60% of jobs for South African citizens

The message is a response to remarks EFF leader Julius Malema made at a press briefing on 26 October. Malema was discussing the issue of foreign nationals working in South Africa. He said many companies employed foreign nationals because they were not protected by local labour laws.

“We therefore call on all employers, inclusive of farms, retail stores, restaurants, hotels and the entire private sector to ensure that a minimum of 60% of their employees are South African,” he said, according to reports by TimesLIVE and IOL.

He added: “The EFF labour desk in all parts of South Africa will visit different establishments to ensure that the employment of minimum 60% South Africans is a reality.”

The EFF later tweeted: “#EFFPresser Malema: We, therefore, call on all employers inclusive of farms, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, the hospitality businesses and the entire private sector to ensure that a minimum of 60% of their employees are South Africans.”

Malema said the EFF was calling for a minimum of 60% of jobs to be reserved for South African citizens. This means the EFF would not be concerned if more than 60% went to locals. 

He did not say 40% of jobs should go to foreign nationals from elsewhere in Africa. The claim is incorrect.

According to the Fact sheet on foreign workers in South Africa, published in April 2017 by the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, from 2012 and 2014 only 4% of South Africa’s workforce was made up of foreigners. Foreign nationals were more likely than South Africans to be employed in precarious work and in the informal sector, as employers were able to misuse foreign nationals in the workplace, the fact sheet found. 


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.