President Cyril Ramaphosa reads Business Day. A day after I wrote that he should not only listen to the orthodox economists who dominate all debates, the president reached out to me to schedule a discussion about the country’s unemployment crisis. We eventually talked for an hour two days before the state of the nation address. But none of what I had said made it into the speech.

I pointed out that with an annual average of 6% GDP growth until 2030, we would only reduce the number of unemployed by 1.1-million. There would still be about 11.4-million unemployed people by the end of the decade, and the expanded unemployment rate would decline to 34.2% from 46.6%. I said this meant there is a need to massively expand public employment programmes and provide income support for the working-age population through a basic income grant...

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