“And they’ll lose jobs because of technology, globalisation, climate change and a whole number of challenges like low economic growth, as we have seen, in our own country,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa added that despite all work being done poverty levels are increasing.
“In the end, and despite significant economic progress, in the years leading to the global financial crisis, unemployment has increased over the last decade, poverty levels have begun to rise again and millions of SA remain excluded through lack of assets, skills and networks.” He added.
Businessman Gayton Mckenzie said the development will lead to an increase in xenophobic attacks.
“Xenophobia will rise as jobs dwindle. My heart breaks for the many jobless youths who hoped and prayed for a job, imagine hearing that people with jobs should brace themselves for retrenchments, it’s like waiting in line to enter a shop and hearing the people inside should vacate because shelves are running empty.”
Political analyst Fortune Mlalazi said the developments were disturbing because they were likely to fuel Afrophobia, especially in the townships.
“The statements by Ramaphosa are frightening because you will have a situation where retrenched workers will turn against foreigners who have critical skills and start attacking them.” Said Mlalazi. “You are also likely to see retrenched foreigners who have no source of livelihood resorting to crime and it will be a mess in this country. ”
Mlalazi urged the South African government to prioritise the skills upgrade of its citizens and workers so that they are able to operate the new machines.