Cre­at­ing sus­tain­able jobs for all

Vuk'uzenzele - - From The Union Buildings -

Ajob brings dig­nity and makes one feel a sense of self-worth. It brings hap­pi­ness to our lives, builds con­fi­dence and re­wards us fi­nan­cially.

The fi­nan­cial re­ward al­lows us to pro­vide for fam­ily and to en­joy the ben­e­fits of be­ing part of and con­trib­u­tors to a grow­ing econ­omy.

Gov­ern­ment un­der­stands the im­por­tance to the in­di­vid­ual and so­ci­ety in gen­eral of hav­ing a na­tion that is at work in an econ­omy that ben­e­fits our own cit­i­zens and the grow­ing num­ber of in­vestors, trade part­ners and tourists who see South Africa as a land of op­por­tu­nity.

This is why gov­ern­ment’s key fo­cus right now is jobs, jobs and more jobs. And this is why we have launched ini­tia­tives such as the Youth Em­ploy­ment Ser­vice to en­sure that South Africans – and our young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar – en­joy the dig­nity that comes with be­ing pro­duc­tive and self-suf­fi­cient.

Em­ploy­ment plays a big part in curb­ing poverty and erad­i­cat­ing so­cial ills that have gripped our so­ci­ety and par­tic­u­larly af­fect the youth.

There are var­i­ous fac­tors that con­tribute to unem­ploy­ment, in­clud­ing a slug­gish econ­omy, fac­tors the global econ­omy that im­pact on us, and cor­rup­tion and in­ef­fi­ciency in some pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions and state-owned en­ter­prises.

We have there­fore put in place var­i­ous in­quiries into state cap­ture and other ac­tiv­i­ties by pub­lic ser­vants and peo­ple or or­gan­i­sa­tions in the pri­vate sec­tor who have over time robbed our coun­try of money and other re­sources that should have been used to give us the bet­ter life for which we are all work­ing.

We have iden­ti­fied our prob­lems, we have ac­knowl­edged our short­com­ings, and we have be­gun to end the rot and start the growth we need so ur­gently.

We are ad­dress­ing them so that we can build the South Africa we want. A South Africa where cit­i­zens are able to live free from poverty.

Over the last few months, we have taken de­ci­sive steps to im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, pro­mote the coun­try to in­vestors, en­sure pol­icy cer­tainty, strengthen state owned com­pa­nies and cre­ate pathways into em­ploy­ment for the youth.

We are work­ing with labour, busi­ness and com­mu­ni­ties to forge a new so­cial com­pact around job cre­ation, which will form the ba­sis for a broader com­pact around growth, de­vel­op­ment and trans­for­ma­tion.

The Jobs Sum­mit, sched­uled to take place in Oc­to­ber this year, is an im­por­tant part of this ef­fort.

The Sum­mit will look at what we need to do to en­sure our econ­omy grows and be­comes more pro­duc­tive; that com­pa­nies in­vest on a far greater scale; that work­ers are bet­ter skilled and equipped, and that our eco­nomic in­fra­struc­ture is ex­panded.

With prepara­tory work al­ready un­der­way in the Na­tional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Labour Coun­cil (Ned­lac), the Jobs Sum­mit is ex­pected to come up with prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions and ini­tia­tives that will be im­ple­mented im­me­di­ately.

This Sum­mit will en­sure that all ac­tors in our econ­omy un­der­stand our prob­lems and our prospects for re­cov­ery in a bet­ter way, and that we are all able to get on with the job of cre­at­ing jobs.

One of the sec­tors with a cru­cial role in grow­ing our econ­omy and cre­at­ing jobs is agri­cul­ture. South Africa’s GDP in­creased at a bet­ter than ex­pected rate in 2017, with agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­eries driv­ing a good deal of this rel­a­tive pos­i­tiv­ity.

These sec­tors’ con­tri­bu­tion to the GDP was 2.4per­cent in 2017. The sec­tors have ex­panded for four con­sec­u­tive quar­ters.

The to­tal vol­ume of South African agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion for 2017 was es­ti­mated at 62.9 mil­lion tonnes com­pared to 50.8 mil­lion tonnes in 2016. This rep­re­sents a 24 per­cent in­crease.

With the po­ten­tial for suc­cess that agri­cul­ture holds, we need to make the agri­cul­tural sec­tor more ap­peal­ing to the youth or in young peo­ple lingo ‘cool’.

Young South Africans must know there is a fu­ture in farm­ing, that it is a part of our econ­omy whose po­ten­tial we have only just be­gun to ex­plore.

Look­ing at the South Africa’s in­ter­na­tional links with re­gards to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, South Africa's agri­cul­ture ex­ports in­creased to R127.85 bil­lion in 2017 from R112.07 bil­lion in 2016, boosted by growth in edi­ble fruits, bev­er­ages, spir­its as well as pre­pared fruits, veg­eta­bles and nuts.

South African agri­cul­ture prod­ucts con­tinue to ben­e­fit from the Tri­par­tite Free Trade Area agree­ment of the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity, Com­mon Mar­ket for East­ern and South­ern Africa and the East African Com­mu­nity.

We fore­see these mar­kets open­ing even more as a re­sult of the Jobs Sum­mit. It is my hope that play­ers in this area will make mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion dur­ing the Jobs Sum­mit.

Let us unite in cre­at­ing dig­ni­fied jobs and grow­ing our econ­omy.

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