Ramaphosa: Unemployment on the ‘high side’, but we are working on it

South Africa’s unemployment rate is on the "high side", but President Cyril Ramaphosa has said government is working to draw investment that will fuel growth and ultimately create much-needed jobs.

The president was responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday. DA leader Mmusi Maimane had asked what government’s plans were to reduce unemployment and create jobs.

Ramaphosa said that employment for youth and women was an "urgent and critical" priority and that the most recent unemployment figures were on the high side and quite worrying. In July, Statistics South Africa revealed that unemployment rose to 27.2% during the second quarter of 2018.

"A number of countries around the world are experiencing the same type of problem we are experiencing. We must treat unemployment as a burning platform," said Ramaphosa.

Even though government has managed to double employment since 1994, not enough jobs have been created to accommodate the growing numbers of people entering the workforce, he said.

Among the reforms to address unemployment include driving investment for economic growth and to create jobs.

"We need to bring investment into the country. We need local companies to invest in the economy."

SA businesses and international businesses will be attending the investment summit in October this year. Ramaphosa stressed that government was not solely relying on foreign investment, but investment from local corporates.

Investors have raised concerns over policy and regulatory issues. Ramaphosa said government is addressing concerns over Visa requirements, the finalisation of the Mining Charter and the Integrated Resource Plan as well as the allocation of spectrum.

Cabinet will also announce details on its stimulus package to reignite growth, Ramaphosa said. He also called for other partners in the economic space to "play their part" in driving growth. Other political parties must bring forward proposals for job creation, he said.

Ramaphosa added that government was working on addressing governance challenges and corruption in an effort to build confidence, as this would spur investment.

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