Defend Truth


Uninspired young people in Mbombela hesitant to believe Ramaphosa’s promise of jobs

Uninspired young people in Mbombela hesitant to believe Ramaphosa’s promise of jobs
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa speaks to the media after the ANCYL Youth Engagement session on 11 January 2024. Ramaphosa was accompanied by ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri and Mpumalanga provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu. (Photo: X, formerly Twitter / @MYANC)

ANC President Cyril Ramphosa made several promises to young people in Mpumalanga on Thursday. But they questioned whether they were sincere or an electioneering tool for the governing party.

The events leading up to the ANC 112th anniversary celebrations have seen its president Cyril Ramaphosa interacting with communities around Mpumalanga. On Thursday, 11 January, he delivered an address at the Communio Church in Mbombela which was filled to capacity by young people who listened attentively.

Ramaphosa highlighted initiatives which had created jobs for the youth and then promised the government would look at more ways to ensure that young people were employed.

He also encouraged young people to better themselves through getting an education and being avid readers. 

“Here in Mpumalanga we are making strides and doing things that will be an example for the national government. We are particularly impressed by the bursaries you have for young people.

“[Unemployment] is a challenge that we are going to address so that where we have educated our young people, where they have been qualified, we should come with an intervention to say no graduate will be unemployed. It is dependent on our fiscal position and types of collaborations we have with the private sector…” he said.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa (left) and ANC Youth League president Collen Malatji at the Peter Mokaba lecture in Mpumalanga. (Photo: Elmond Jiyane)

However, several young people Daily Maverick spoke to are disillusioned and impatient with the current state of the country and want the government to effect change immediately.

Agriculturist Santwe Mndawe (33) had the following to say about Ramaphosa’s speech: “I felt like they were reflecting on things they have done as government in the past, but they have not addressed things they are still going to do in the future. I felt like it was not a complete address of the issues affecting the youth. 

“I am a bit optimistic, but the politics of the country are making me a bit dizzy. I feel like we as the youth are being used to [fight] for who is going to lead the country but they don’t want to know how we want to be led.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cry of the people – ‘ANC needs to get its act together if it hopes to win the 2024 elections’

Lethokuhle Mokoena, a 26-year-old teacher, felt the president was simply electioneering and not addressing issues faced by educators.

“To be honest, I felt like he didn’t quite meet our needs as teachers, but overall his speech was okay, although it was promoting more the upcoming elections, and for young people to vote for the ANC. I also felt like what he was doing was to promote the ANC. 

“I was expecting him to dwell more on the plan for graduates, yet he was encouraging us to study. There are many of us and family members who have studied, but we are sitting at home with no jobs.”   

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, addresses the Youth Engagement Session, hosted by the ANCYL, at the Communio Church in Mbombela on 11 January 2024. Ramaphosa was joined by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. (Photo: Twitter, formerly X / @MYANC)

Unemployed graduates Thando Mabuza and Buhle Nkosi also wondered if the ANC government would deliver on its promises.

Mabuza found Ramaphosa to be repetitive and dubbed his promises as “ambitious”.

“I think for me personally he repeats one and the same thing because he’s been speaking about the issues that young people are faced with, especially the issue of unemployment. Everyone knows that it is high, but what is he really going to do?  

“How will he change things this time around? I think he made a lot of ambitious promises and we can only hope that he delivers on them and hopefully he was not just saying things because they want votes for the ANC.”

Nkosi said Ramaphosa’s interaction was “a waste of time”.


ANC Women’s League members at the Peter Mokaba lecture in Mpumalanga. (Photo: Elmond Jiyane)

“We received calls from the Department of Trade and Industry as unemployed graduates to come and attend an imbizo aimed at providing opportunities, but we did not get anything like that. In a way, I felt like it was a waste of time because even when opportunities do arise, it’s only a select few that benefit, and it is usually ANC members,” she said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC calls on its members to pray for the party ‘to renew itself’

Student Bukiwe Mdluli criticised the ANC president’s approach to the country’s unemployment crisis.

“The president focused more on what young people should do and not what the government will do, so I was really not moved by anything he said.

“The only thing that was kind of encouraging was to see and hear from young people who are now successful through the help of the government. To me, it said, ‘Yes it may be difficult but it is possible’.”

However, poultry farmer Sizwe Tshabalala disagreed with these sentiments as he has benefited from government initiatives.

“The government, from my experience, has created a lot of opportunities in the entrepreneurial space particularly with funding. I think one of the biggest tasks now is to actually advertise these opportunities more and make them accessible to the young people who are entrepreneurs and are sitting at home.  

“The reality is that the government or departments cannot fight unemployment alone. They must just create an environment in which young people and entrepreneurs can thrive.

“Personally, I was satisfied with the address and also because I have benefited from these opportunities.”

In November, Statistics South Africa said 4.6 million young people aged 15-34 were unemployed in the third quarter of 2023, with a youth unemployment rate of 43.4% compared with the overall official unemployment rate of 31.9%. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • davidramol says:


  • Hermann Funk says:

    That’s all Ramaphosa has been doing since “leading” government, making promises. For delivery, he and his cohort are incompetent.

  • Miles Japhet says:

    Tragic that there still seems to be no thought that the ANC not only cannot create jobs but is in fact destroying them with its communist inspired policies. And this is from graduates !!!

  • Peter Doble says:

    “I felt like it was a waste of time because even when opportunities do arise, it’s only a select few that benefit, and it is usually ANC members,” It’s the same old story; the best and the brightest are overlooked to swell the ranks of the cadres. The ANC’s ultra bigoted ideological myopia has dragged down the country and its youth for 30 years – and nothing is going to change.

  • P C Hem says:

    There is plenty of work to be done and plenty of graduates but not enough skilled, motivated workers and too much corruption and lawlessness to ever achieve anything. Cyril Ramaphosa’s obesity is a visual analogy of the wealth of the few and the poverty of the many.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Empty promises and poorly thought through platitudes. Let the ANC’s and Ramaphosa’s track record speak for itself and as for education? Well, it would make a huge difference, except that they have managed to mess this up too.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    “ANC President Cyril Ramphosa made several promises”

    The rest of the article was unnecessary.

  • Only the fee who benefited from this careless government will applaud ramaphosa but the vast majority of our people who faces the reality of poverty day in and day out will remain unimpressed by these empty speeches

  • chrisarab51 says:

    Thank you Mpho.

    You are right on the money. Good education and opportunity are the key to unlocking poverty. As James Brown once sang in the 1970’s ” I don’t want nobody to give me nothin’, open up the door and I’ll take it myself”.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options