President Ramaphosa has failed to show leadership following Tuesday’s bleak unemployment figures and Eskom’s record R21bn loss, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has charged.
Dubbing it a “double-blow” to the South African economy, Maimane said “almost 24 hours have now passed since yesterday’s devastating news and the president has done nothing to address the nation or provide leadership at this time.”
Figures released by Stats SA for the second quarter showed that for the first time in democratic South Africa, as many as 10.2 million people do not have a job or have given up looking for a job, with the expanded unemployment rate climbing to 38.5%.
“This is symptomatic of an all-out economic crisis,” Maimane said.
The second blow was the announcement that Eskom had recorded a R20,7 billion loss this past year, after tax.
“This is a loss that will be paid directly from the pockets of South Africans, commandeering public money from where it is desperately needed to uplift the poor and vulnerable, and bailing out Eskom instead,” the DA leader said.
Maimane said he has written National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise calling for an urgent debate of national importance on the unemployment crisis in South Africa.
“I acted immediately yesterday, but the President of our Republic has remained silent, and is nowhere to be seen or heard on this crisis,” Maimane said.
He added that he will be writing to Ramaphosa urging for the drafting of an “economic crisis recovery plan with relevant government stakeholders and political parties to reform the economy, Eskom and stem the jobs losses.”
South Africans and potential investors need to hear this “certainty at this time.”
“Where President Ramaphosa is acting in the interest of the people of South Africa, the DA will work with him,” Maimane added.
He said partisanship needs to be set aside.
“South Africa is in an economic crisis and the President must work with all levels of government to grow the economy and create jobs. The DA has tried and tested economic reform proposals to help the economy bounce back from this crisis,” the DA leader said.