Exclusion of whites is a myth: Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s deputy president who was recently elected as the leader of ruling party, is seen to be fighting corruption. EPA

The concerns that young white people were excluded from the economy must be listened to, but President Cyril Ramaphosa says that unemployment and economic exclusion remains the preserve of black people

There had been concerns expressed in parliament – by the Freedom Front Plus – that young white people were being excluded from jobs and from the economy, reported President Cyril Ramaphosa. He was speaking at the end of the debate on the state of the nation address.

Although he said the reality was that black people were still at the back of the jobs queue in South Africa, it was important to listen to such concerns. “One of our members raised such an issue… young white people are excluded from jobs. They are excluded from bursaries and opportunities based on the colour of their skin… we must not ignore such concerns.”

While these concerns must be addressed, Ramaphosa said this argument that they were unfairly disadvantaged in the South African economy was “not borne out by reality. Data from Statistics South Africa indicated that white young people “do better in development indicators such as education, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities…”

The figure of unemployment among Africans was 30 percent “and just under seven percent for white people”. That was a big difference, he said. “Employment prospects still favour white young people (more) than their compatriots. That is dealing with the reality.”

White South Africans “particularly men” still dominate at the senior level of the economy, said Ramaphosa. “That cannot be denied ever.”

Those who had been reversed in the economy were black people, he said. “We need to keep that in mind.” In a non-racial society, the legacy of apartheid and colonialism could not be ignored. “We need to accelerate … the task of building a united nation.”

Ramaphosa also said that the ANC was committed to the expropriation of land without compensation. He said this must be done while achieving a growing economy and not undermining the agriculture sector – and in particular, it must not undermine the ability to feed the nation.

The exclusion of black people from the land of the country “was the original sin” which needed to be addressed, he said.

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