Once again, the national State of Disaster has been extended. Although the state could have justified this based on the crime in the country, it is not clear how this could be blamed on Covid-19.
To make things even worse, it seems that the state now wants to extend the controls by simply sweeping them under the National Health Act rug. Per an article by Daily Maverick’s Marianne Merten, health minister Joe Phaahla signed Regulation 16A(1) on 14 March 2022 pending a 30-day public comment period, which states that “A person must, when in a gathering in an indoor public place, wear a face mask or a homemade item that covers his or her nose and mouth.” This is a typical example of how the world is moving by while South Africa seems to struggle with planning ahead.
Most people are aware that South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world and that new technologies are about to make that even worse unless countries are prepared for it. So, what does the South African government do? It lowers the pass mark for the National Senior Certificate, then proudly proclaims that “the learner must pass at least three subjects at 40%.” True to form, it then insists that we do not need to worry as the pass mark is higher for those wishing to enter university to further their studies.
What government fails to realise is that once these learners finish school, they enter ‘the real world’ where nobody wants to employ people who barely meet such minimal criteria, despite what any minister or ministerial committee tries to convince us is the truth. There are, of course, the exceptions where people with very low marks at school make it in the real world, but if that was the norm, South Africa would not have one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
South Africa needs to get serious about addressing these new technologies and understanding that less than half of what was taught at school will not cut it. We need to raise the bar and get tough with schools who are not introducing these new technologies and with tertiary education institutions that believe teaching only the basics is acceptable for producing graduates who are equipped to enter a very competitive industry. Then perhaps we will stop blaming previous regimes, industry, the coming ‘industrial revolutions’ and everything else for our unemployment rates.
By the way, if you are doing engineering work and your last name starts with A through K, I sincerely hope your ECSA application paperwork has been completed and sent in, otherwise you could be one of those crying about the ‘unfairness’ of the registration process.
Yours in automation,
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