Ramaphosa: Private sector not doing enough to promote transformation

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the private sector is lagging behind in transformation compared to government.

Ramaphosa was responding to a question during a Twitter Q&A session on Monday evening, where he fielded wide-ranging questions from young people - with some addressing him as Bra Yaka, slang for 'my brother', and others using #HolaMatamela, meaning 'hello Matamela' (the president's second name).

One Twitter user asked Ramaphosa what his plans were for speeding up transformation in the workplace.

"We must admit that we’ve made tremendous progress in the public sector as far as transformation is concerned," Ramaphosa said.

"The same cannot be said for the private sector."

Advancing the transformation agenda has been a key focus area for government; however, results have been mixed, with the private sector often accused of not doing enough to promote inclusion in the workplace.

"We will be seeking to hasten the pace of transformation in the private sector through the laws we’ve already put in place," said Ramaphosa.

Small enterprises

The social media engagement comes as Ramaphosa has been travelling across the country, canvassing for votes ahead of the May 8 general election.

One user told Ramaphosa he did not understand the purpose of the National Youth Development Agencu (NYDA) and Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), which are aimed at promoting small enterprise development.

Ramaphosa responded that the initiatives were "working wonders". 

"The NYDA is a structure that was requested & demanded by young people. It’s been set up and it is working wonders for the young people it has been able to reach," responded Ramaphosa.

"I would ask you to continue reaching out because in the end if you are sitting in a corner how will get it?"

Young people are the hardest hit by the country’s high unemployment rate, which is placed at 27.5%. The expanded unemployment rate - that is, the figure which includes those who have given up looking for jobs - is even higher.