JOHANNESBURG, As 2017 slowly comes to an end, South Africans are increasingly pessimistic about jobs and economic growth prospects in the country.

The current year-on-year growth rate of 0.8 per cent, coupled with a persistent high unemployment rate of 27.7 per cent is taking its toll on South Africans.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which recently took to the streets and discussed what South Africans expect for the year ahead, finds that it has been an extremely disappointing year for the local economy.

Growth has stagnated, while the struggle for jobs continues unabated. In the second quarter of the year, the country entered a technical recession as the gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.7 per cent, after dropping 0.3 per cent in the first quarter.

At the same time, international rating agencies downgraded the country to almost junk status.

Some of the people who spoke to the SABC believe the worst is yet to come while others are pinning their hopes on the ascendency of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to the top leadership position after he was elected president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), succeeding South African President Jacob Zuma who has ended his two terms as ANC president.

Ordinary citizens are not the only ones who lack faith in the country’s economic growth, business confidence is also at its lowest with investors are still looking for policy certainty.

On a more positive note, inflation remains contained at 4.6 per cent, while the rand also remains resilient. The local unit has been trading at between 12.41 and 12.47 Rand to the US dollars in recent sessions against 12.70 Rand at the close of trade last week.

The Rand was stronger at the opening Wednesday, still riding the wave of positive sentiment following Ramaphosa’s election as leader of the ANC. Another reason for the currency firming is the global rally in prices of natural resources.