CLAIRE BISSEKER: Ramaphosa’s wage hopes are too high
“It is doubtful whether SA’s policy makers, Ramaphosa included, realise the cul de sac they have backed themselves into on youth unemployment”
He was doing so well, Cyril Ramaphosa. Urbane, affable and self-deprecating, the deputy president had the dinner audience at Harambee’s annual youth unemployment conference outside Cape Town hanging onto his every word. Everyone serious about tackling SA’s youth unemployment crisis was there, including the new higher education minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize. She told dinner guests that what had made the deepest impression on her during the discussions was the importance of partnerships. "We’ve taken too long but today I’ve come out with a sense of hope that SA is alive with possibility if we focus on partnerships between government, the private sector and civil society," she said. Picking up on her theme, Ramaphosa said it was in SA’s DNA for people from opposing sides to be able to work together to solve intractable problems — and the country would solve the problem of youth unemployment, too. Unfortunately, he chose the example of the national minimum wage negotiations, which he chaire...