‘Moment of truth’ jobs summit not about doing too many things at once to fix things

04 October 2018 - 19:34
By Theto Mahlakoana
Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant
Image: FILE Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant

Outcomes of the jobs summit will focus on strategic areas that promise a great effect on mass unemployment within the shortest time possible.

On Thursday‚ labour minister Mildred Oliphant described the gathering as a “moment of truth” given the high expectations society has on stakeholders working on solutions to the jobs crisis.

The summit will hear from business‚ labour‚ the government and community constituencies from the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on the progress made regarding key areas that were identified for urgent intervention.

“You will also notice that the approach to this work was guided by not seeking to do too many things‚ but focus on key strategic areas that promise greater impact within the shortest possible time. To achieve these outcomes‚ it will require high levels of discipline from all of us and to provide leadership in instances of bottlenecks‚” Oliphant said.

Business Unity SA (Busa) president Sipho Pityana told delegates at the two-day meeting that it would be remiss to view the summit in isolation from other initiatives being championed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He also said business was under no delusion that the summit would provide all the answers needed to get the 9.6-million unemployed South Africans into the labour market.

However‚ he explained that they had “some of the answers” and were committed to working with other social partners to realise the outcomes of the summit. A set of agreements on industry-specific interventions would be signed by the constituencies and Ramaphosa.

“We are under no illusion that the summit will turn the tide on unemployment... But we are gathering here today to generate innovative ideas of stimulating employment creation across our economy‚” Pityana said.

We are here to decide on pragmatic ways to protect jobs wherever possible‚ and to identify and nurture the potential for new jobs that will help turn back the tide."