President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Deputy David Mabuza on Monday held their first monthly meeting with the leaders of business, labour and communities to tackle the country’s employment crisis.
The Jobs Summit Presidential Working Committee has been set up to accelerate the implementation of measures adopted at last year’s Presidential Jobs Summit to create employment, curtail job losses, provide training and work experience opportunities and unblock regulatory and other hurdles that inhibit employment.
Ramaphosa expects the monthly meeting of social partners to be a place where concerns can be raised in a frank and constructive manner and where people can be held to account.
“In setting up these monthly meetings, we were motivated by the scale and the urgency of the crisis we are facing, and by the realisation that if we don’t move more quickly and with greater effect, our economy will lose more jobs than we create,” President Ramaphosa said.
“We reached important and far-reaching agreements at the Jobs Summit last year, but their effectiveness depends entirely on implementation. We know that despite the economic headwinds that we face – both globally and locally – we have the means as these four social partners to turn our economy around and create jobs,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said that in addition to the President and Deputy President, the committee comprises three senior leaders each from government, labour, business, and community. It will meet at the beginning of each month to review progress in the implementation of Jobs Summit undertakings.
Diko said the committee agreed that each meeting should address a particular sector of the economy where intervention is needed to prevent job losses and stimulate far greater job creation. Representatives of employers and unions in each sector will be invited to make presentations on developments, challenges, and opportunities.
Some of the sectors that have been initially prioritised by the committee include construction; clothing, textiles, footwear and leather, and metals and machinery.
Over the next few months, the committee will also address critical constraints to greater investment and growth, such as the cost of doing business, the security of electricity supply and policy uncertainty.