South Africa: Ramaphosa assures we are making progress

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to hold on to the hope that he is on track to rescue the country from a decade of state capture.

Ramaphosa presented an assessment of his government that is in sharp contrast with the lived reality of millions of South Africans.

Mainly the president claimed load shedding would soon be a thing of the past, crime fighting has improved, jobs were being created and the economy was on a recovery path.

He said this as Eskom resumed load shedding in one of the coldest weeks in the country, with snowfalls in the Drakensberg.

Ramaphosa relied on the recent decline of murder cases in the latest quarterly crime stats to say police were making progress in fighting crime.

But he failed to mention that of the 6,228 people killed during April to June, 1,188 were women and children.

The president assured the nation that the economy was creating jobs with over two million jobs created since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa however relied heavily on temporary three-month contracts extended to over 1.2 million college and university graduates.

While the government registers this temporary “work opportunity” as a tick for job creation, it does not register it as a job loss when their three-month contracts end.

This creates an impression that these 1.2 million young people were on the job today.

“The presidential employment stimulus has created over 1.2 million jobs since its establishment, representing the largest expansion of public employment in South Africa’s history.

“Over the last two years, the number of people with jobs has increased by two million, bringing the level of employment to its pre-pandemic level.”

He praised the R350 grant as saving millions of unemployed people from poverty.

Although the economy is growing by just 0.6%, Ramaphosa said he had plans to upgrade the country’s infrastructure and improve the functioning of the rail network.

Research by the University of KwaZulu-Natal has warned that the main challenges to the growth of the local economy were “port congestion, poor road conditions, rising costs of doing business, theft and truck hijackings, poor road infrastructure, non-compliant trucks on the South African roads, delays at the border posts, bribery and corruption and lack of skilled labour”.

And finally, the president announced 15 December as a public holiday to celebrate the world cup victory of the Springboks.

“In celebration of the Springboks’ momentous achievement and as a tribute to the unity and resolve of the South African people, I am declaring Friday 15 December 2023 as a public holiday.”

The EFF accuse Ramaphosa of exploiting the achievements of the Springboks for political expediency.

“The 15th of December falls within a holiday period in South Africa, wherein a majority of labour intensive industries are already closed, schools are closed and many South Africans are home with their families.

“To make matters worse, the 15th of December falls before the 16th of December, which is deemed as the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa and is in actual fact an existing public holiday,” the party said.

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