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In an article we ran on Friday, economists were hoping President Cyril Ramaphosa would give more detail on how he planned to turn our flagging economy around when he answered questions in the National Assembly.
Economist Mike Schussler pleaded for more action, saying: “I want to hear the president say that South Africa will do everything in its power to put jobs first.
Only health and safety come before job creation and nothing else – with issues such as BEE and localisation in second or third place.”
Professor Jannie Rossouw from the Wits Business School said “if we do not review employment legislation, job creation will not happen”, while Maarten Ackerman, chief economist and advisory partner at Citadel, said “there are enough good plans and we have the best policies, but it is not happening, or it is happening too slowly”.
Sadly, we were left with more questions than answers after the president was grilled yesterday in the National Assembly.
The high rate of unemployment was touched on, but a clear strategy to create jobs is still lacking.
Ramaphosa said: “Unemployment has risen – yes, it is now at 34.4%. And if you look at the expanded unemployment, it is way beyond that, 43% or 44%. So we face a massive problem.”
He added: “And I look at this as a collective problem… and of course, in the end it can be said to be President Cyril Ramaphosa’s problem. Yes, as it should be. It is a big problem.
And as I was saying earlier, this is precisely what is on my continued radar screen. If there’s anything that consumes my attention on a minute-by-minute basis, hourly basis, it is this issue of unemployment, particularly for young people.”
It’s not only Ramaphosa’s problem. It’s all of ours.
Decisive action is needed to get out of this predicament.