What is the government's strategy to lift the economy out of stagnation and create the jobs SA needs, in a world profoundly changed by the Covid pandemic? The Ramaphosa economic recovery and reconstruction plan hinges on two or three big components that are supposed to drive job creation. But it's not clear that any of these will live up to the high hopes of their promoters. First is the mass public employment programme that aims to provide temporary "work opportunities" for hundreds of thousands of people in the shorter term, while other initiatives supposedly come together to get the economy back on track and get businesses hiring again in the longer term.

Community-based public works projects can and do make a real difference to communities, as well as providing youngsters with at least some experience to equip them for the world of work. Some of the programmes detailed on Thursday do look creative and laudable, and could provide much-needed incomes and services. And if the...

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