SA needs job creation with bias to females in post-Covid recovery plan

Mr President, centre women in Sona speech

This Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his State of the Nation Address (Sona) virtually. This Sona will be taking place under National State of Disaster regulations and will be devoid of the fanfare and most of the ceremonial components that mark the event. Given how costly these are, I could not be happier about the downsizing of the event and hope that even post-pandemic, the Sona will cease to be the party and fashion parade for politicians and their spouses that it has become. But my interest in this year’s Sona is more about the substance I expect from the president, particularly on the question of women’s empowerment and gender-based violence.

The Covid-19 global pandemic has evidently been more than just a global health emergency – it has also been an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions. It has battered national economies immeasurably, particularly those of developing countries like SA. Long before the pandemic happened, the South African economy was already in serious trouble. In fact, just a few weeks before the lockdown was announced last year, our economy slipped into a recession, with the GDP having shrunk by 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Seven out of ten industries contracted in the fourth quarter, contributing to already high levels of unemployment...

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