President Cyril Ramaphosa’s interim administration, popularly dubbed the new dawn, has been criticised by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy leader Floyd Shivambu as “illusionary and deranged”.
Shivambu’s criticism comes as Statistics South Africa reported on Tuesday that the official unemployment rate in the country had increased by 0.5% to 27.2% in the second quarter of 2018 from the first quarter, which Shivambu said illustrated how Ramaphosa’s new dawn lacked substance to address the scourge of unemployment.
“South Africans’ lives are getting worse under Ramaphosa, and the embedded media ignores this reality,” Shivambu said.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) described the rise in the unemployment rate in the country as a humanitarian crisis.
“Each of the 9.6 million unemployed South Africans represent tens of millions of people who are dependent on their ability to earn a living. As a result of this, our country is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” the DA said in a statement.
The party said the country’s youth were the hardest hit by unemployment, which “is an indictment on the ANC government’s inability to manage our economy”.
“The DA has repeatedly called for and proposed youth employment initiatives, as well as sectoral minimum wages, as we firmly believe these policies will save and create more jobs.”
Ramaphosa’s new dawn was meant to tackle corruption, unemployment and inequality, and during his state of the nation address, the president had pledged to embark on a number of measures to address the unemployment challenge, in particular among young South Africans.
One of these measures was the launch of the Youth Employment Service (YES), which seeks to help more than one million young South Africans get paid work experience over the next three years.
The YES initiative is a partnership, led by Ramaphosa, between government, business, labour and civil society.
Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said on Tuesday Stats SA’s quarterly labour force survey showed the South African working-age population increased by 154 000, or 0.4%, in the second quarter.
The unemployment rate edged up due to a decline of 90 000 in the number of people employed, and an increase of 102 000 in the number of people who became unemployed between the first and second quarters of 2018.
This was coupled with an increase in the number of discouraged work-seekers to 2.9% during the period under review.