South Africans need to become as single-minded about creating jobs as they are about cricket and soccer, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Monday.
“South Africans need to become a lot more passionate, more single-minded about what we want to do,” Gordhan told a business breakfast in Johannesburg.
“If we were as single-minded on the economy as we were on the soccer World Cup and how we pulled it off … or about the cricket World Cup that’s going on … can we get single-minded about job creation in South Africa and transforming the economy?” he asked.
As business controlled 70% of the economy, it should take responsibility for its role, he said.
The private sector and labour, not necessarily the government, should be grappling with issues like productivity, he said.
Not playing its role
The private sector was not playing its role in growing jobs and creating opportunities, as there were too few firms that were too dominant.
“The issues aren’t just about the labour market and the cost of doing business,” he said.
“How do we really create the space for small and medium enterprises? How many big businesses are allowing the space for small business opportunities?” he asked.
He did, however, admit that government had been “pathetic in terms of helping small businesses” and needed to get rid of red tape and other impediments to doing business.
Gordhan said both business and government should not tolerate mediocrity and should strive for excellence.
“Don’t just look at government. If you control 70% of this economy then how you operate counts,” he said. — Sapa