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Ramaphosa urged to show leadership as unemployment rate shocks

Stats SA on Tuesday revealed the official unemployment rate was 29%, the highest in more than a decade.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the closing address at the 2019 Africa Travel Indaba. Picture : Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has been urged to show leadership and treat the latest unemployment figures as a crisis that needed to be averted urgently.

Stats SA on Tuesday revealed the official unemployment rate was 29%, the highest in more than a decade.

That means 6.8 million South Africans are unemployed. The number jumped to over 10 million people if you added those who had given up looking for a job.

• Maimane calls for urgent Parly debate on unemployment figures

Two million jobs over the next 10 years, over 200, 000 each year. That’s how many jobs Ramaphosa promised during his State of the Nation Address earlier this year.

What’s clear is that with these latest staggering unemployment figures, the promises may prove difficult to achieve.

Economist Dr Thabi Leoka said there was no strong commitment from government to turn the economy around.

“Instead there’s a lot of infighting and a lot of litigation being side-tracked,” she said.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions’ spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said this reflected badly on Ramaphosa’s leadership.

“If that is not a sign that the leadership in this country does not know what it is doing, then we can only hope for the best,” he said.

While the president and his administration had made efforts to deal with the issue of unemployment, the questions remained on what impact the 2018’s jobs summit had on the economy, and whatever happened to the stimulus package?

Many argued that what was clear was that no economy would grow with such high levels of unemployment.