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Ramaphosa: Those with jobs should not rest while compatriots are out of work

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Those South Africans who have jobs should never rest while so many of their compatriots are out of work, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

He was reacting to a report on progress made in implementing resolutions reached at last year’s job summit. The summit, held in October last year, involved the input of various stakeholders such as business groups, civil society and government.

At the time the unemployment rate was at 27.2%, but according to the latest data from Stats SA, the country now has the highest unemployment rate in 11 years at 29%. About 6.7 million people in SA between the ages of 15 and 64 are unemployed.

“The enormity of joblessness, together with low levels of economic growth and adverse global economic conditions mean that we are called upon to come up with a whole number of solutions,” said Ramaphosa.

“Some of those must mean that we have to be innovative and combine that with our willingness to be as creative as possible. We are essentially in a deep and serious crisis and we should never rest if so many of our compatriots are out of work.”

The commitments made in the Jobs Summit Framework Agreement to increase employment in the country included economic specific interventions in, for example, agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors, as well as procurement interventions and industrial financing.

Other interventions relate to small, medium and micro enterprise development

programmes. Education and skills interventions were deemed to be important as well as inclusive growth interventions and public and social interventions.

Fin24 reported earlier that several economists point to poor economic activity in SA as the reason for the high unemployment rate. FNB economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi does not see the situation improving in the coming months, while PwC economists Lullu Krugel and Christie Viljoen attributed the unemployment level to the country’s “economic malaise”.

In the view of Krugel and Viljoen, apart from turning around a weak economy, structural changes must be implemented to create jobs. This includes changes to the quality of governance, the level of competition in many industries, labour market flexibility, and the cost of doing business.

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