Unemployment, COVID top of the agenda at Ramaphosa's Cabinet meeting

The meeting received a report from the task team established to explore the feasibility of vaccination mandate in the country as COVID-19 infections continue to rise.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - As Cabinet members and President Cyril Ramaphosa met on Wednesday morning, the unemployment rate and COVID-19 developments were said to be top of the agenda.

The meeting received a report from the task team established to explore the feasibility of vaccination mandate in the country as COVID-19 infections continue to rise.

On Tuesday, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi told delegates at the National Economic Development and Labour Council that the body had approved the move seeking to limit access to certain services for unvaccinated people.

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The Cabinet's morning meeting was a pre-cursor to the sitting of the national coronavirus command council that will assess whether current measures are appropriate for the fourth wave of the pandemic.

With clear indications that closing the economy through yet another elevated lockdown alert level is not an option, Cabinet’s processing of the recommendations of the vaccine mandates task team has become even more pressing.

Ramaphosa said beyond this issue, they would be looking at several proposals and strategies on how to address the mass unemployment challenge.

“I am deeply concerned about the continued loss of jobs. I am concerned about the slow pace of some of the process that we are involved in and it is for this reason that we say we are making efforts to stem this challenge and problem of the unemployment challenge that we are facing as a country.”

Last week, Stats SA reported that the unemployment rate now stands at 34,9% with 12.5 million South Africans jobless.