The growth in unemployment by two percentage points since President Cyril Ramaphosa took office reflects ‘the true state of the nation’, according to Herman Mashaba.

The founder of The People’s Dialogue, and former Democratic Alliance mayor of Johannesburg, said in a statement a day before President Ramaphosa’s State of the National Address (SONA) that ‘the reality on the ground has gone from bad to worse’.

The latest employment figures for the last quarter (Q4) of 2019 ‘statistics reflects an economy in a downward spiral. For the first time since 2008, the official unemployment rate – the narrow definition – remained stagnant from Q3 to Q4 at 29.1%. This is in contrast to the expected decrease in unemployment that has been seen over this period in the past’.

The statement said: ‘More importantly, the expanded unemployment rate – the broad definition – showed a slight increase to 38.7%, with almost 10.4 million South Africans now without a job, or without the hope of finding a job.

‘Despite the grand promises made by President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the billions in investment his leadership has allegedly attracted to South Africa, the reality on the ground has gone from bad to worse.’

Because of this, Mashaba said, he intended ‘boycotting watching Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address’.

‘The time for empty promises delivered to a fancy-dress party has long passed.

‘Despite the initial “Ramaphoria”, our state-owned entities continue to cripple our fiscus, load-shedding has once again become a regular occurrence, policy is no more* certain than the day he took office, and no single high-profile ANC politician is yet to find themselves behind bars.

‘The self-serving party-political system has failed the ordinary residents of South Africa, with Ramaphosa ultimately serving the ANC and the tri-partite alliance, and not the people of this great country.’

For these reasons, The People’s Dialogue ’will continue to engage the residents of South Africa as we seek to build people-based alternatives. We need leaders who talk less and act more, and do not shy away from tackling the difficult challenges we face.’

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