ANALYSIS: Ramaphosa right about ‘'big difference' between black and white unemployment

Replying to the debate on his State of the Nation Address, South Africa’s newly-minted president Cyril Ramaphosa said that concerns about white people being excluded from opportunities musn't be ignored or "just willy-nilly" dismissed.

He was referring to Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald who claimed that "because of affirmative action and broad-based black economic empowerment, white young people are excluded from jobs, bursaries and opportunities based on the colour of their skin".

"We must engage with [the concerns] and we must address them," Ramaphosa continued. "And as we address them we should be mindful that… that statement is not borne out by reality."

"Unemployment among Africans stands at 30% and just under 7% for white people. Big difference," he said.

Statistics South Africa's latest employment data is for October to December 2017. During that quarter, the unemployment rate at the national level was estimated at 26.7%Ramaphosa is correct with regards to the difference between the narrow unemployment rate for black and white South Africans. An estimated 30% of the black workforce was unemployed, but actively looking for a job, compared to just 6.7% of the white workforce.

Population groupNarrow unemployment rate Broad unemployment rate
Black 30.0%40.7%
Coloured 23.5%29.1%
Indian 9.2%14.9%
White 6.7%8.5%

Statistics South Africa (Q4 2017) This fact-check was researched by Kate Wilkinson for Africa Check, the continent's leading fact-checking organisation. Read it on their website here.  

Additional reading
: FACTSHEET: Unemployment statistics in South Africa explained