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Cyril Ramaphosa: Unskilled people are dumb & stupid

a dumb ramaphosa struggles to fit covid mask

The National Freedom Party (NFP) has expressed its concern and outrage over President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent remarks, where he referred to unskilled individuals using a derogatory term in his speech. The NFP has deemed this language offensive, derogatory, and damaging, calling on the president to issue a public apology.

President Ramaphosa’s Controversial Remark

During his address, the President used the term “iziphukuphuku” in reference to untrained individuals when discussing the issue of unemployment. The term, which translates to “stupid” in English, was deemed derogatory and insensitive by the NFP. While the president’s intention may have been to emphasize the importance of skills and qualifications in tackling joblessness, the choice of words has sparked outrage and demands for an apology.

unskilled workers hands over a product they've produced

Only skilled individuals to be employed, as opposed to those who are stupid and dumb.

Cyril ramaphosa

The NFP’s Reaction and Call for Apology

Canaan Mdletshe, the general secretary of the NFP, expressed deep offense and concern over President Ramaphosa’s remark. Mdletshe emphasized that the absence of skills should not be equated with mental retardation or idiocy. He criticized the president for using such derogatory language, particularly when discussing a sensitive issue like joblessness. The NFP believes that it is inappropriate for a president or any leader to use derogatory terms in public, and they are demanding a public apology from the President.

The Importance of Language and Sensitivity

The choice of language used by leaders holds significant weight, as it can shape public perception and impact individuals and communities. It is crucial for leaders to be mindful of the impact of their words and strive to foster inclusivity and respect in their communication. When discussing sensitive topics like unemployment, it is vital to avoid derogatory terms that can further stigmatize and marginalize vulnerable groups.

girl with dumb look on her face

Unemployment and Skill Development

The issue of joblessness in South Africa is a complex and pressing challenge that requires a comprehensive approach. It is crucial to prioritize skill development and ensure access to quality education and training opportunities. By equipping individuals with the necessary skills and qualifications, they can enhance their employability and contribute to the country’s economic growth. However, addressing joblessness should not involve demeaning or devaluing those who currently lack skills or qualifications. Instead, it should focus on creating inclusive and supportive pathways for skill development and employment.

Promoting Inclusivity and Empathy

President Ramaphosa’s remark highlights the need for leaders to promote inclusivity and empathy in their language and actions. It is essential for leaders to be aware of the power dynamics inherent in their positions and to exercise restraint and sensitivity when addressing societal challenges. By fostering an environment of respect and understanding, leaders can inspire unity and collaboration in finding solutions to pressing issues like unemployment.

The National Freedom Party’s call for him to apologize for his derogatory remark reflects the need for leaders to be mindful of their language and the impact it can have on individuals and communities. Addressing unemployment and skill development requires a compassionate and inclusive approach that avoids demeaning or stigmatizing language. It is crucial for leaders to promote empathy, respect, and understanding in their communication, fostering an environment where all individuals are valued and empowered. Through responsible leadership, South Africa can work towards a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.

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He stated that they are asking the president to publicly apologize to the tens of thousands of unemployed individuals.

unemployed person with note on their back pocket

“As far as we are concerned, the word is an insult and cannot be used by an incumbent president or a leader, much less in public. “Ramaphosa must apologize, retract the word iziphukuphuku, and pledge never to use it again,” he said.

What is the employment rate in South Africa in 2023?

Changing Patterns in Employment and Unemployment

When compared to the statistics from the previous quarter, the employment and jobless rates for the first quarter of 2023 show significant shifts. The most recent findings from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) show that the number of people holding jobs rose by 258,000 during this time period, bringing the total to 16.2 million. On the other hand, there was an increase in the number of people without jobs, which brought the total up to 7.9 million, an increase of 179,000 from the previous year. Concurrently, the number of people who were not economically active due to factors other than discouragement fell by 209,000, bringing the total number of such people down to 13.2 million. The number of people who gave up looking for work dropped by 87,000, which contributed to a total drop of 296,000 in the population that is not economically active.

Rates of Unemployment

Changes in employment and unemployment figures had an effect on the official unemployment rate. The rate went up by a tenth of a percentage point, moving from 32.7% in the previous quarter (the fourth quarter of 2022) to 32.9% in the first quarter of the following year (2023). When looking at the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who are actively looking for work but have given up, the jobless rate decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point, coming in at 42.4% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 42.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

nfp meeting with leadership sitting at the table.

Employment Trends in Formal and Informal Sectors

Employment numbers shifted in both the formal and the informal economy over the past few years. While the number of people employed in the formal sector increased by 209,000, the number of people employed in the informal sector increased by 107,000. The financial sector saw the largest employment increase, adding 184,000 new positions, followed by the community and social services sector, which added 175,000 jobs, and the agricultural sector, which added 27,000. On the other hand, there were decreases in employment in Private households (85,000), Trade (28,000), Mining (24,000), Construction (11,000), and Manufacturing (2,000).

READ MORE: Zuma calls Ramaphosa a thief who stashes cash money in mattresses

Regional Employment Trends

During the first three months of 2023, a number of different regions in South Africa saw significant increases in their employment rates. Following Gauteng with an increase of 80,000 employed individuals was Limpopo with 71,000, Western Cape with 62,000, KwaZulu-Natal with 54,000, and Eastern Cape with 41,000. In contrast, the number of employed people in the province of Mpumalanga decreased by 45,000 during the same time period, while the number of employed people in the provinces of North West and Free State fell by 4,000 each.

a statistics chart

What is the youth unemployment rate in SA in 2023?

The young population, defined as those between the ages of 15 and 34, continued to have difficulty finding work in the market. The total number of unemployed young people in the world reached 4.9 million in Q1:2023, an increase of 241,000 from the previous quarter. Despite this, there was a modest increase of 28,000 young people who found work, bringing the total number of employed youth to 5.6 million. As a direct result of this, the unemployment rate among young people increased by 1.1 percentage points to reach 46.5% in the first quarter of 2023.

The Dangers of a high unemployment rate?

The Negative Implications of High Unemployment

A high jobless rate can have far-reaching consequences that affect individuals, communities, and the overall economy. The following points highlight the dangers and negative implications associated with a persistently high unemployment rate:

1. Economic Contraction and Slow Growth: High joblessness indicates an underutilization of human resources and productive capacity within the economy. When a significant portion of the workforce remains unemployed, it leads to reduced consumer spending, lower aggregate demand, and a decline in overall economic activity. This contraction can hinder economic growth and hamper the development of industries and businesses.

2. Poverty and Inequality: joblessness often leads to increased poverty rates and exacerbates income inequality. Joblessness denies individuals and households a stable income source, making it difficult to meet basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare. Moreover, high joblessness disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, exacerbating existing social and economic inequalities.

3. Social Unrest and Crime: Prolonged unemployment can give rise to social unrest and heightened crime rates within communities. When individuals face limited job prospects, frustration and discontentment can escalate, leading to social tensions and an increased likelihood of criminal activities. Unemployment, particularly among the youth, can create feelings of hopelessness and marginalization, potentially fueling social unrest.

4. Mental and Physical Health Issues: Unemployment is associated with adverse effects on mental and physical health. Job loss and prolonged unemployment can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression among individuals, impacting their overall well-being. Furthermore, the lack of financial resources and access to healthcare can result in inadequate medical attention and a decline in overall health outcomes.

5. Skills Erosion and Reduced Human Capital: Long periods of unemployment can result in skills erosion and reduced human capital within the workforce. When individuals remain unemployed for extended periods, their existing skills may become outdated, making it increasingly difficult to re-enter the job market. This erosion of skills and knowledge can lead to a loss of productivity and hinder long-term economic growth.

6. Increased Government Expenditure: High unemployment rates impose a significant burden on governments. Governments may need to allocate substantial resources to unemployment benefits, social welfare programs, and retraining initiatives, placing strain on public finances. This increased expenditure may divert resources from other vital sectors, such as education, infrastructure, and healthcare, impacting overall societal well-being.

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7. Demographic Challenges and Brain Drain: Persistent unemployment can lead to demographic challenges, particularly if skilled individuals emigrate in search of better employment opportunities. This brain drain can deprive a nation of its intellectual capital, hindering innovation and economic development. Additionally, an aging workforce may face difficulties in retirement planning if younger generations struggle to find gainful employment.

A high jobless rate poses numerous dangers to individuals, societies, and economies. It not only hampers economic growth and perpetuates poverty and inequality but also leads to social unrest, health issues, skills erosion, increased government expenditure, and demographic challenges. Addressing joblessness through targeted policies, promoting entrepreneurship, investing in education and skills development, and fostering an environment conducive to job creation is vital for mitigating these dangers and creating a more prosperous and inclusive society.

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