State provides support for job creation, says Zuma

The state is not the primary job creator in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

“The state prepares the environment for economic growth and provides support to the private sector by providing enablers and removing obstacles,” Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He said job creation had become a central criterion for all the government’s economic programmes and projects. All government entities, including state-owned enterprises, were taking the impact of their work on employment and equity into account.

South Africa’s new growth path, unveiled in 2010, aimed to make the economy more efficient and productive.

This would be done through investment in infrastructure, education and skills development. The government was also trying to create more opportunities for people on a “mass scale” in infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.

“To date, we have put in place a number of incentives and enablers to boost employment-creating economic activities,” said Zuma.

An example of this was new regulations introduced in December, which required local procurement by all state entities when buying specified products, including clothing, rolling stock and canned foods.

“This will make a noticeable impact as procurement of goods and services by national and provincial departments alone constitutes almost 6% of the GDP [gross domestic product],” he said.

The government had alleviated poverty on a short-term basis through public works programmes which provided short-term jobs.
It also supported about 15-million South Africans with social grants, of which 10-million were children, said Zuma.

“We ... have an effective social security system. Many households would have no food were it not for the social grants.

“We are improving the economic situation and working towards finding means to provide able-bodied grant recipients with skills to help them become independent.”

Zuma said the social assistance programme created a “caring society”.—Sapa

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