Ramaphosa: Hogg wrong – I was talking 6m new “work opportunities”, not jobs

Here we go. Clarity from South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa what he meant when speaking of Government creating 6m new “jobs”, erm, “work opportunities” in the next four years. Confused? You needn’t be, it’s just a small matter of polishing up your politician-speak. His statement to Biznews tells us Ramaphosa says he was referring to what the private sector terms piece-work – occasional jobs for unskilled hands, often brief and rarely well paid but at least they do open the door to the world of work. Cyril assures us there is more to it than that, that those in these Public Works programmes actually learn skills that they can apply when they eventually do get jobs. Also, that he hasn’t lost his mind, nor succumbed to hyperbole. As head of the already dusty National Development Plan, he is aware taxpayer-funded piece work is a very poor replacement for full time private sector employment. We look forward to him grasping the nettle where it really matters. Encouraging entrepreneurship. And fighting his socialist instincts by tackling well documented reasons for wide-scale destruction of permanent jobs, the ones that matter most. – Alec Hogg     

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa – hasn’t gone crazy, nor succumbed to hyperbole, as his statement below explains.

From the office of the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa:

A recent commentary by Alec Hogg on BizNews.com, headlined ‘Ramaphosa’s jobs fantasy’, in which he questions government’s “job creation” targets appears to be based on inaccurate reporting.

As a result, it does not distinguish between work opportunities created through government’s public works programmes and mainstream jobs of the kind created in manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and other economic sectors.

The commentary misrepresents a statement made by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on public employment programmes held at Orange Farm on 22 July 2015.

Speaking about government’s public employment programmes, Deputy President Ramaphosa said: “The ruling party has decided that in this administration we are going to make 6 million of these job opportunities available. Already, the number of job opportunities we have created is leading us to the 6 million, and I am confident that we will reach – and even exceed – it because the experience we have gathered over the past five years has been huge and meaningful.”

At no point did Deputy President Ramaphosa suggest that he was referring to jobs created in the broader economy.

Having met public employment participants at the Orange Farm project where the meeting was hosted, the Deputy President told the meeting how participants had “raised quite a number of issues; they would like to work more days than they are working now”.

The Deputy President provided this detail to illustrate how these work opportunities allow different groups of residents to work temporarily on projects that deliver new infrastructure, revamp existing infrastructure or deliver social services.

This brings income and dignity to the most vulnerable people in our communities and involves citizens directly in the development of social goods and the quality of life in communities.

Most importantly, these opportunities come with training and skills development that stand participants in good stead beyond the life of the particular programmes on which they work.

The Deputy President’s said: “Many people see this work not only as a source of income, but as an opportunity to gain experience (and) gain know-how of the world of work, and the many people we spoke to attest to the fact that they are gaining quite a lot of experience that will stand them in good stead when they finally get gainful employment elsewhere.”

The goal of six million work opportunities in public employment programmes is not unrealistic. The Expanded Public Works Programme created over one million work opportunities in the 2014/2015 financial year alone.

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