Maimane to Ramaphosa: We need a crisis plan on Eskom, joblessness

Leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa urging him to establish an economic crisis recovery plan to address unemployment.

Maimane pointed at the recent unemployment statistics, which put the country’s jobless rate at 29%, the highest since 2008, as well as Eskom’s announcement of a R20.7bn loss.

Maimane said the abovementioned figures were "symptomatic of a nationwide economic crisis", adding that ordinary South Africans would pay the price for the power utility's financial crisis. He proposed an economic recovery plan involving government stakeholders and political parties.

"This certainty is needed by South Africans and investors at this time," he said.

Ramaphosa - who promised South Africans a "new dawn" upon becoming president in February 2018 - announced an economic stimulus package in September last year, aimed at stimulating key industries in a bid to boost growth and create jobs. Other Ramaphosa initiatives geared at propping the country's moribund economy include a Job Summit and an Investment Summit held last year.

During the jobs summit, several private companies committed to working to adopt employment programmes, while the October Investment Summit garnered nearly R300bn in investment pledges.

The direct impact of these interventions on the SA economy has not been clear. However, the International Monetary Fund expects the economy to expand by 0.7% in 2019, a similar rate to that forecast by the South African Reserve Bank.

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