CAPE TOWN- President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa is faced with a health, social and economic crisis of massive proportions, and that the country’s path to recovery will be long and difficult but must start now.
In the President’s weekly newsletter he emphasised that while the country faces economic challenges, it is not the time to despair but to act and continue to work towards the achievement of economic dignity for all South Africans.
As several parts of the country face a surge in Covid-19 infections, various economic indicators show a drastic decline in economic activity and in confidence.
“Despite the support measures we have put in place, businesses are being forced to close and jobs are being lost. It is untenable, and unacceptable, to live with an unemployment rate of 30 percent, which will soon increase. It is also impossible to build an economy built on inequality,” said Ramaphosa.
Since the onset of the pandemic in South Africa, Ramaphosa said the government’s strategy has been to provide as much support as possible within the country’s constrained resources, to protect businesses and preserve jobs.
“Now we must move quickly towards a robust programme of reconstruction and recovery – and we must do so together. If we are going to recover from the worst effects of the pandemic, we also need well-crafted public employment schemes. Creating jobs for people that add value to their communities through maintenance, care work and other services, keeps people engaged in productive activity.”
In the coming weeks, government will be working with social partners to finalise an economic recovery programme that places high value on the protection and the creation of jobs.
“In all the proposals put forward in recent weeks, there is a substantial emphasis on improving execution,” said Ramaphosa.
South Africa should pursue new sources of growth, said the President, and at the same time support areas previously identified as relevant and urgent, such as a growing small and medium enterprise sector and an agricultural sector that delivers food security.
“Building on the vast areas of common ground among the proposals from social partners, we now have to put in place a clear, focused and ambitious set of measures to not only restore our economy, but to set it on a new path of inclusive and sustainable growth. We have all the ingredients for an economic recovery. Now let us work together to make it happen,” said the President.
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