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Most governments in Africa share the common problem of high youth unemployment. Global economic forces and decisions of powerhouses like Britain and America are increasingly impacting growth of African economies. African countries have thus found themselves on the back foot and unable to stimulate their economies sufficiently to create jobs, especially in the formal sector.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 20 June. The speech was filled with rousing language as well as conciliatory offers to work together with members of the opposition. Unfortunately, no new details of his ostensible reform agenda were released, including details of how his dream for South Africa will come about.
Citing seven priorities, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to restore the National Development Plan to its place at the centre of our national effort, to make it alive and to make it part of the lived experience of the South African people.
The recent announcement of President Ramaphosa’s new cabinet provides a good opportunity to reflect on the critical role of ministers in the governance of the public sector. The work we have done in the public sector over the years revealed some common governance challenges.
With these words, in front of a crowd of thousands, which included, former and current heads of state and other dignitaries, President Cyril Ramaphosa took the oath of office as president of South Africa, “I, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, swear that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all laws of the Republic.”
Stats SA recently announced South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased to 27.6%. The expanded rate increased to 38%, which translates to 9,994,000 unemployed people.
It is an unmitigated moral tragedy that in the year of celebrating what would have been Mandela’s 101st birthday, the incumbent government has betrayed him on an issue about which that he felt strongly. This is the resolution by parliament to make it constitutionally permissible to expropriate land without compensation (EWC). Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, the resolution does not exempt anyone, not any racial group or entity.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that sex work might soon be decriminalised. If true, it will mark the end of an era that will be remembered as a stain on our constitutional democracy. The right to be a sex worker is guaranteed in the Constitution, and the hereinto prohibition thereof has been the result of errant jurisprudence rather than a respect for the Rule of Law.
In spite of Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘new dawn’, there are powerful forces in the ruling party that risk losing everything if corruption and state capture finally do come to an end. At the centre of the old guard’s fightback efforts is Ace Magashule, a man viewed by some as South Africa’s most dangerous politician.
The stakes have never been higher, and despite Minister Tito Mboweni’s always-jovial presence in parliament as he tabled Budget 2019, his words prepared us for the bitter medicine that must be swallowed before we can experience economic recovery.