Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa’s views on job creation is ‘blame shifting’, says Groenewald

The FF Plus leader says after years of promising jobs to unemployed citizens, the ANC was now changing tack and blaming the private sector for its failures.

Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader Pieter Groenewald has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of “blame shifting” for saying in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) last week that the private sector, not government, was not responsible for job creation.

Sona debate 2022

Taking to the podium at Cape Town City Hall on Monday, on the first day of the Sona debate, Groenewald said Ramaphosa’s statement that “government does not create jobs, business creates jobs” was the president blaming South Africa’s staggering unemployment rate – currently at 34.9% – on the private sector.

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He said after years of promising jobs to unemployed citizens, the ANC was now changing tack and blaming the private sector for its failures.

“I want to say here today honourable president, you said this to use it as blame shifting,” Groenewald said.

“The ANC government failed the people, especially young people as far as employment is concerned. The unemployment rate among the youth is about 63%. You failed them and now you want to use this phrase as blame shifting to say ‘no, it’s not the problem of the government, it’s because of private business'”.

Earlier, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said Ramaphosa’s administration had no programme or plan to create jobs for millions of South Africans who are jobless.

He said the private sector’s main drive was making profits, not creating jobs.

“A president of a former liberation movement comes here to say that government does not create jobs, and the hopeless people of our people must wait for the private sector to create jobs for them,” Malema said.

“Sending our people to the private sector for jobs is like sending cattle to the slaughter,” he added.

‘Fatally flawed’ views on job creation

The South African Communist Party (SACP), an alliance partner of the governing ANC, last week also criticised Ramaphosa for his views on job creation.

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In a statement, the party described Ramaphosa’s views as “fatally flawed” and “neo-liberal”, and called on him to re-examine his views about the role played by government in creating jobs.

“The president should re-examine the idea he asserted, that ‘we all know that’ the state does not create employment.

“Besides the fact that the ‘we’ is definitely not inclusive, but in fact refers to the category of individuals who believe in that fatally flawed assertion, it is important to build a capable developmental state with organic capacity to serve the people diligently and capably,” the SACP said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen praised Ramaphosa on his views on jobs, saying the president’s “realisation” that government doesn’t create jobs was a considerable departure from the ANC’s “central control-obsessed approach to the economy and jobs.”

“He is entirely correct in this new assessment. But until he walks the walk by significantly reforming labour legislation and by downsizing his bloated public sector with its thousands of millionaire managers, that will just remain talk,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.

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