SA's unemployment crisis is the deepest in the world and the forthcoming jobs summit needs to grapple with the scale and horrendous consequences of mass unemployment. This is something that President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged earlier this year when he said that the summit "will need to take extraordinary measures to create jobs on a scale that we have never before seen in this country". He's right about the need for extraordinary measures because the scale of the unemployment crisis is enormous. There are 37.8-million working-age adults in SA today. Of these, 11.9-million people (mostly students and school pupils) are not economically active. Of the remaining 25.9-million, 9.6-million (37%) cannot find work. That's almost two adults in every five.

Put another way, only about 43% of SA's adults work. In most countries, the figure is 60% or more. And matters have grown worse over time: between 2008 and 2018, the number of working-age adults increased by 6.3-million but of the...

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