/ 30 September 2010

Poverty, unemployment ‘timebomb’ warning

Unemployment and poverty have to be dealt with to ensure growth in South Africa, delegates at the launch of t said in Johannesburg on Wednesdahe Decent Work Country Programmey.

“If you don’t address the issue of unemployment and poverty you are sitting on a timebomb,” Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in Johannesburg.

A draft document on the first programme of its kind in the country was signed by representatives of government, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), organised business, organised labour and community constituencies.

One of the programme’s main focuses was ensuring the right to work was enforced. It was further aimed at strengthening fundamental principles and rights at work, promoting employment creation, strengthening and broadening social protection coverage, and social development.

The minister called the programme a “major breakthrough”.

Long and bumpy road
ILO spokesperson Joni Musabayana said constructing the final programme had been a “long and sometimes bumpy road”.

Another ILO spokesperson Vic van Vuuren said it was crucial that the document be implemented.

Organised labour spokesman Bheki Ntshalintshali said they had to be “mindful and careful that whatever we commit to do we deliver on time”.

There was no guarantee the programme would deliver what signatories expected.

“It is a new commitment, and unless we do something different, it would fail.”

He said they hoped for many more programmes in the future, and that this project would act as a “think tank” in addressing them. — Sapa