Ramaphosa: Jobs Summit critics must eat their words

In his closing address at the Jobs Summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa hit back at critics saying those who said it was just another talk-shop should “eat their words”.

Through the process of engaging and working with different stakeholders they have been able to come up with ideas to tackle unemployment and all that is left implementation, he said.

Friday saw the closure of the two-day summit which was held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. Government, business, labour and community organisations had convened to devise a coordinated framework to tackle unemployment in the country.

“This has been a true festival of ideas that have come forward.
We are going to make sure that we get this presidential job monitoring committee, that is going to be set up, to monitor the implementation to ensure that all these ideas that came out of here are properly monitored,” Ramaphosa said.

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“I am going to be proposing to colleagues in the presidential jobs committee that we should have a bi-annual jobs summit and not wait for six years or so before we have another [one].
We should get together in two years’ time and see what progress we have made,” he said.

The different interventions that have come out of the jobs summit are expected to create 275 000 new direct jobs a year on top of the 300 000 jobs which the economy has been able to create over the past years. 

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the number was significant because it essentially doubled what the economy was already achieving particularly with a backdrop of large-scale job losses such as in the mining sector.

South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to 27.2% of in the second quarter of 2018. The rate of unemployment amongst the youth was at 38.8% in comparison to 17.9% for adults.

Patel added that what the summit needed to do is reverse the loss of jobs seen in the last two quarters, while deepening entrepreneurship opportunities for the youth.

“The combination of significantly ambitious targets — much higher than the trend line of what we have been able to achieve — and more self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities is what we are needing,” he said.

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He said some of the most significant outcomes of the summit was the deeper commitment to localisation as a key driver to creating jobs.

The second important outcome was the deeper partnerships between business and labour saying if we could cement that on a consistent basis it would assist in creating alternatives to retrenchments.

“Companies go through difficulties but it is the ability of both workers and employers to look at alternatives to retrenchments and to cling to a job as long as possible… because once that job is lost your ability to create that job in the next upswing is also lost,” Patel explained.

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