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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

R2 trillion for jobs: Ramaphosa’s Freedom Day pledge to create work

Funding for financial freedom? Here's what President Cyril Ramaphosa said about plans to fight rampant unemployment in SA.

In his Freedom Day address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced intentions to raise R2 trillion through investment into South Africa – specifically to combat the country’s high unemployment rate.

With the Presidency selecting the North West town of Klerksdorp for its annual Freedom Day address, Ramaphosa was commemorating the 29th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy.

Freedom Day 2023:

The commemoration of Freedom Day comes ahead of the 2024 national elections which will mark the seventh all-inclusive national elections in the new South Africa.

Ramaphosa tackles unemployment

“Freedom cannot be meaningful when more than 10 million South Africans are out of work,” Ramaphosa noted in his address at the Manzilpark Stadium, in Klerksdorp.

“That is why we need to pursue the far-reaching reforms we are undertaking to make our economy more competitive, more inclusive, and more attractive to investors.”

The president continued by saying a target of raising R2 trillion over the next five years has been set.

Having surpassed our investment target for the last five years, we are now working with all social partners to create conditions for businesses – both big and small – to thrive.

“It is because South Africans need jobs that we have raised our ambition in the next phase of our investment drive, to raise R2 trillion in new investment over the next five years.

IMF projection: Highest unemployment rate globally

According to Stats SA, South Africa’s unemployment rate stands at 32.7%, which – along with the crippling load shedding crisis – impact economic growth negatively.

In February this year, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook projected that South Africa will have the highest unemployment rate globally in 2023, estimated at 35.6%.

Stats SA further states that South Africa’s youth continues to bear the brunt of unemployment. Only 2.5 million of the country’s more than 10 million young people aged 15-24 were in the labour force.

Call for united effort against load shedding, crime

In his address, Ramaphosa also commented that government, working alongside local communities – will up its efforts to address challenges facing South Africa, such as load shedding and crime.

“Let’s hold each others’ hands and build this country, so we get out of the challenges we’re facing… We are striving for load shedding to end, and to create jobs so that our people work, and also to defeat crime in South Africa.”

‘Use freedom to vote’

The president urged Klerksdorp residents to make use of their democratic right to vote in the upcoming 2024 elections.

In 2021, the country suffered its lowest voter turnout during the local government elections, leaving the African National Congress (ANC) with a 50% margin in North West municipalities, according to EWN.

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