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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘SA should not have public holidays’ – Economist

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared Tuesday, 27 December 2022, as a public holiday because of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.

Economist Dawie Roodt has told The Citizen, the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to declared the 27th of December a public holiday is unlikely to have a huge impact on the country’s economy.

The president earlier this month declared Tuesday, 27 December 2022, as a public holiday because of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.

“In terms of the 2022 annual calendar, Christmas Day, 25 December, falls on a Sunday. Section 2(1) of the Act provides that “whenever a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a holiday,” the presidency said.

Tiny impact

Roodt said had the 27th been on a “normal working day” it would have cost the economy billions of rands.

“A normal working day will probably cost the economy in the region of about R20 or R30 billion in lost production.”

“But, this is not a normal working day, for an obvious reason that it is on the 27th – which is a day on which many people are on holiday only. So, the only impact is likely to be on the tourist industry or restaurants and the impact is likely to be quite small. It could result a bit of an increase in the wages, because it is a public holiday for restaurants as an example,” Roodt said.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa declares 27 December a public holiday

Too many public holidays?

Roodt said South Africa also has far too many public holidays.

“I think we should have far fewer holidays and, in fact, I would even go as far in saying we should not have any public holidays and we should leave it to the employer and employee to decide beforehand which days they will take off.”

“For example, we have many religions in South Africa, Christmas is a holiday, but everybody is not a Christian in South Africa as an example. So, I think that should be left to the private sector for employers and employees to decide themselves,” added Roodt.

South Africa currently has a total of 12 paid holidays and since these are not counted as leave, they can be a real bonus, with many people targeting them to make long weekends last even longer.

ALSO READ: Countries with the most public holidays

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Cyril Ramaphosa Dawie Roodt Holiday