A fierce debate this week erupted following suggestions that President Cyril Ramaphosa may, during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday evening, announce a policy that could possibly look at “excluding foreign nationals” from certain categories of work.
While Ramaphosa is yet to outline plans by his administration to bridge the ever-growing unemployment gap in the country, calls have been growing by some sectors of society for more South Africans to be employed while they acknowledge that government does make provision for the employment of foreign nationals with vital skill sets.
Delivering the provincial statement in the Mpophomeni Township in Howick last month, ANC KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson Sihle Zikalala laid down the gauntlet to the national government, urging the Ramaphosa administration to ensure that general and semi-skilled jobs were only reserved for South Africans.
“In this regard, we call, and we are emphatic, on the January 8 statement that general opportunities in terms of the general economic opportunities and general employment, must be reserved for South Africans. If you talk about petrol attendants and people working in restaurants and say those jobs shouldn’t be protected for South Africans, where do you expect people without skills to work?
“We are saying the government must reserve general employment for people of South Africa, also because South Africans get denied opportunities because it is easy for the private sector to employ foreign nationals because they will not demand the labour rights that are enjoyed by South Africans,” Zikalala said at the time
Commenting on the exclusion of foreign nationals, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba told IOL that they would be disappointed by such a move because Ramaphosa has been in government since 1994 and compromised the sovereignty of South Africa and “we hope and trust that he can support minister Motsoaledi in ensuring that we can reclaim our country and continue inviting foreign nationals to come to our country, but they must come legally and respect our laws when they are here.”
Mashaba said, as ActionSA, they want to continue on a trajectory of South Africa. “This country was built on the back of migrants, and we want to continue attracting people of the world to here, and our constitution is very clear as to who qualifies to get the country’s citizenship,” he added.
On improving the unemployment in South Africa, he said: “We must remove ANC from power. There’s no way you can improve the economy as long as you keep the ANC government in power because, in our view, a prosperous South Africa and ANC cannot co-exist in one space, so one has to die, and it can’t be our country, it has to be the ANC
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