Cyril predicts jobs bonanza for SA

President says 275,000 people a year could benefit from proposals coming out of summit

President Cyril Ramaphosa says there are realisable solutions to the unemployment crisis
President Cyril Ramaphosa says there are realisable solutions to the unemployment crisis
Image: Daylin Paul

Initiatives and agreements coming out of the jobs summit will lead to 275,000 jobs a year, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.

South Africa’s social partners comprising business, labour, the government and community constituencies signed an agreement on Thursday which contained proposed solutions to the unemployment crisis.

The framework will include what Ramaphosa said were ambitious and realisable solutions after months of intensive engagement by the social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on how to create and retain jobs.

The plan included the establishment of rapid-response teams of experts to assist businesses in crisis before workers are retrenched, revival of the training layoff scheme, promotion of exports and mobilisation of finance for businesses on a greater scale, he said.

“This time around we are determined to implement the interventions that social partners have come up with.

“You may say this is just talk, but it has been thoroughly processed, discussed over the past few months and I am satisfied we have calibrated what needs to be done to embark on the interventions.”

Ramaphosa said the greatest challenge so far was a lack of co-operation by social partners, which made it difficult to advance collective interests.

“[The] framework agreement gives us an opportunity to develop trust, demonstrate we are capable of developing a new social compact for jobs and growth,” he said.

“The summit is just the start of the process of serious engagement that will intensify in coming months.”

A presidential jobs committee made up of business, labour and community leaders will also be established to monitor the implementation of agreements made at the summit.

Labour minister Mildred Oliphant described the gathering as a “moment of truth” given the high expectations society has on stakeholders working on solutions.

“It will require high levels of discipline from all of us and to provide leadership in instances of bottlenecks‚” she said.

Business Unity SA president Sipho Pityana told delegates it would be remiss to view the summit in isolation from other initiatives being championed by Ramaphosa.

He said business was under no illusion that the summit would provide all the answers.

“We are here to decide on pragmatic ways to protect jobs wherever possible‚ and to identify and nurture the potential for new jobs.”