Cyril's heavy jobs headache worsens

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Esa Alexander

The business sector and labour have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration to act with speed in turning the economy around to deal with the crisis of unemployment.

Trade union federation Cosatu blamed government for the slow pace of the implementation of the resolutions from the Presidential Jobs Summit last October.

At the summit, government, business, labour and community constituencies signed an agreement for initiatives meant to boost the economy and create jobs. These included interventions in agricultural value chains, especially fruit, grain and livestock; support for small and medium enterprises; and a more aggressive approach to increasing exports.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa received a report from the jobs summit, which showed that unreliable electricity supply by Eskom and stringent visa regulations were among some of the factors that hampered the economy from creating jobs.

This came against the backdrop of statistics released by Stats SA this week, which showed that the unemployment rate soared to 29%, which represented a 1.4% increase from the first quarter.

The official figures showed 6.7-million people are now unemployed, which is about 10-million, when discouraged workers are included.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali decried the slow pace of implementation of summit resolutions.

"The pace is terribly slow, we are losing time," he said

Business Unity SA acting CEO Cas Coovadia said government has to take the lead in realising the resolutions of the summit. "We believe that it's now time to put the economy first," he said.

Ramaphosa, responding to the summit report, said on Thursday that the enormity of joblessness, with low levels of economic growth and adverse global economic conditions, meant that the country is called upon to come up with a number of solutions.

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