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South Africa: The Government Upbeat in Providing Jobs

By Ashok Ramsarup :: South Africans have been reminded of the suffering they underwent 106 years ago when the Natives Land Act was introduced by the apartheid government. In his State of the Nation address in Cape Town, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the Natives Land Act caused devastating acts of dispossession, pain and suffering.

Ramaphosa quoted the words of  Sol Plaatje when  he described that  tragic event:  “Awakening on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.”

He did not mince his words, saying that people suffered gravely and endured untold hardships as a result of the implementation of the act.  Ramaphosa said talking must stop, and its time for action now to meet the requirements of the fledgeling democracy in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment.

He went further by stating that over   25 years,  the fledgeling democracy had done much to meet people’s basic needs, to reduce poverty and to transform a devastated economy that was built to serve the interests of the few. Government is working on plans to ensure that young people are employed in social economy jobs such as early childhood development and health care.

Ramaphosa said they would be expanding their National Youth Service to take on 50,000 young people annually. “The government will support tech-Enabled platforms for self-employed youth in rural areas and townships.

“We will expand our programmes to enable the youth to gain paid work experience through initiatives like the Youth Employment Service, and also facilitating work-based internships for graduates of technical and vocational programmes,” said Ramaphosa.

He announced that they would be rolling-out small business incubation centres to provide youth-driven start-ups with financial and technical advice as they begin their journeys. The private sector had committed to invest R840-billion in 43 projects over 19 sectors and creating 155,000 jobs in the next five years.

The government intensified its programme to implement the 90-90-90 UN strategy to end HIV which is a public health threat. Ramaphosa said they were concerned about rising HIV infections rates, particularly among young women, and the relatively low numbers of men testing for HIV and starting treatment. “We will increase the number of people on HIV  treatment by at least another 2 million by December  2020,” said Ramaphosa.

The country’s economy suffered a severe blow following load shedding by Eskom earlier this year. Ramaphosa said for the economy to grow, the country needed a reliable and sustainable supply of electricity.

Eskom’s financial position remains a matter of grave concern, but the current situation outlined by the government in the 2019 Budget,  the utility had sufficient cash to meet its obligations until the end of October.

One of the government’s mandate Ramaphosa said, South Africa would continue to play an active role in international relations for global peace, security,  and prosperity.   He added that they would use their membership of the United Nations Security Council to promote the peaceful resolution of disputes, particularly on the African countries.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦 

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