Ramaphosa on the death penalty, cutting ministries, and programming in schools

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted a Q&A session through his official Twitter account on Monday (15 April), discussing various election topics such as employment, transformation and service delivery.

The president said he welcomed the opportunity to address questions raised by the people of South Africa, particularly the youth, and expressed interest in conducting more Q&As in the future.

New research on voter motivations from the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg shows that Ramaphosa has emerged as the most important influence on voter support in the coming elections.

Unlike the previous (2017) study, where party loyalty was not a predictor of voting behaviour, a significant shift has occurred since then. In 2018, party loyalty emerged as a predictor of voter choice, the researchers said.

This was particularly noticeable among ANC supporters, where trust in the presidency has gone hand-in-hand with a boost in ANC loyalty.

“It appears that trust in president Ramaphosa may have rekindled loyalty to the party that brought freedom and democracy to South Africa,” the researchers said.

BusinessTech looked at some of the most notable questions and answers from the president below.


What is the plan to put an end to xenophobia in South Africa? And why does it always happen around elections time?

These attacks on foreigners are a matter of great concern. We’ve met with ambassadors to explain to them that these attacks shouldn’t always be seen as xenophobic.

In KZN, there was a dispute between a Malawian and South African which led to two South Africans losing their lives.

What measures will be put in place to ensure we reduce the youth unemployment rate and create an environment that encourages youth entrepreneurship?

Youth unemployment is of great concern to me.

We are mobilising investments to create jobs and we are urging companies to focus more attention on employing young people and not insist on work experience.

Why should unemployed graduates vote for the ANC?

Young people should vote for the ANC because the country has made a big investment (in) them.

The return on investment will be when they are able to get jobs – as our economy grows and yields jobs. Young people are our key priority area of focus when it comes to job creation.

Should South Africa reconsider the death penalty given the rise of crime in South Africa?

Our constitution has enshrined the right to life.

This means that the state should not be the one to terminate a life. The surge in criminality should be addressed in other ways rather than ending people’s lives.

Should South Africa reduce the number of embassies it has to save on money? 

We are in the process of finalising our thoughts on the reconfiguring of the state to where we will have reduced ministries, that will work more effectively.

Our embassies fulfil a function of advancing our international relations policy, but we continue to examine this issue.

Why is the ANC playing the race card to win the elections? 

The ANC is irrevocably committed to non-racialism. Statements that may have appeared to disturb many people are distortions of what we stand for.

We will always be non-racial and all-embracing, appreciating the diversity of our people, because SA belongs to all who live in it.

When is South Africa’s electoral system going digital and when will South Africa make programming compulsory in schools? 

We are going to have a discussion with the IEC about going digital. Many countries have gone digital and we cannot be left behind.

I want to make programming compulsory at public schools. I will be putting pressure on the Department of Basic Education to move with great speed.

What are the plans to speed up transformation in the workplace?

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

The same cannot be said for the private sector. We will be seeking to hasten the pace of transformation in the private sector through the laws we’ve already put in place.


Read: If I could, I would tie white South Africans to a tree and say don’t leave: Ramaphosa

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Ramaphosa on the death penalty, cutting ministries, and programming in schools