President Cyril Ramaphosa said today it was untenable and unacceptable to have an unemployment rate of 30 percent, which will soon increase due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
In his weekly letter, the president said it was impossible to build an economy on the inequality that the country is experiencing.
Ramaphosa said there was consensus that the economic recovery of the country would be largely driven by infrastructure investment.
“Analysts have estimated that this pandemic will cost the country millions of jobs. In the supplementary budget presented last month, government made provision for job preservation and job creation efforts,” he said.
“The job preservation efforts, such as those through the UIF and tax measures, aim to prevent job losses in the private sector,” he added.
Ramaphosa said working with social partners the government was going to speed up the implementation of fixing Eskom to ensure reliable energy, access to broadband spectrum, competitive pots and efficient transport.
He said with the advent of coronavirus, the country needed to pursue new sources of growth such as the green economy, hybrid cars, fuel cells, battery storage and waste beneficiation.
Growing the small and medium enterprise sector and agriculture that delivers food security remained relevant in the economic recovery of the country, Ramaphosa said.
“In all the proposals put forward in recent weeks, there is a substantial emphasis on improving execution. They all say that we should seek out pockets of excellence in the state and support and deepen them,” he said.
“But they also say that we must look outside the state. We need to bring together the best available local skills, whether in business, academia or civil society to support our common programme,” he added.