Jeremy’s weekly wrap: Ramaphosa’s promises versus SA’s realities

Connie Queline

Jeremy’s weekly wrap: Ramaphosa’s promises versus SA’s realities

This week’s State of the Nation address, which we covered extensively, has been called an election stump speech by opposition figures and many commentators. Key points in Thursday’s address included claims that strides have been made in addressing crime and corruption and that legislative efforts are underway to combat money laundering and fraud, aiming to remove South Africa from the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list.

On the economic front, Ramaphosa acknowledged the dire unemployment situation, with the official rate at 31.9%. He also emphasised efforts to stabilise the energy supply and improve logistics systems. He referenced government’s plans to launch a Special Economic Zone for green energy investments in the Northern Cape. Amid continuing concern by business and the healthcare sector, he also hinted at the signature of the National Health Insurance Bill and an extension of the Social Relief of Distress grant.

Ahead of the address, a new report from the Presidency highlighted improvements in the lives of South Africans. Professor Adrian Saville from GIBS told us there is a real need to scrutinise R1.5 trillion in new investment commitments for their genuineness, timeframe, and whether they represent new growth or merely replace old investments.

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On a more optimistic note, Saville acknowledged the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (Jet IP) as a promising development, praising its robust policy framework and the potential for renewable energy partnerships to mitigate load shedding issues.

However, he tempered this optimism with realism, suggesting that while improvements may lead to a more stable Stage 1 load shedding situation, complete resolution of energy security concerns remains challenging.

Ahead of the Sona government proposed changes to employment equity targets, eliminating specific racial categorisations in favour of more generalised goals, which has sparked significant debate.

Kganki Matabane of the Black Business Council, said without specific targets, the regulations will not be effectively implemented, continuing a pattern of inadequate enforcement of the Employment Equity Act. He argued that the government’s failure to decisively enforce and monitor these regulations reflects a broader reluctance to empower the previously disadvantaged, risking further delays in achieving meaningful social and economic equity.

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Also on the employment front and in a jobs market intensified by high unemployment rates and the burgeoning use of artificial intelligence (AI) in recruitment processes, standing out as a job applicant becomes increasingly challenging.

Advaita Naidoo, Africa MD at Jack Hammer Global, offered insights into navigating this landscape by understanding AI’s role in job seeking and leveraging it to enhance one’s application. She said AI tools, like ChatGPT, have democratised access to resources that can optimise CVs, craft personalised cover letters, and enhance LinkedIn profiles, presenting opportunities and risks in equal measure.

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Despite the efficiency AI brings, the traditional elements of job applications, such as the often-debated necessity of cover letters, remain relevant for showcasing an applicant’s ability to tailor their application to specific roles.

Naidoo emphasised the importance of differentiating oneself in a crowded field where AI and automated systems can screen out applicants who do not meet precise keyword criteria. To beat the “bot” and make an impression on human recruiters, she recommended diligently optimising and personalising one’s LinkedIn profile, using strategic keywords that align with job descriptions, and showcasing achievements rather than just listing roles and responsibilities.


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