From the Union Buildings
A job brings dignity and makes one feel a sense of self-worth. It brings happiness to our lives, builds confidence and rewards us financially.
The financial reward allows us to provide for family and to enjoy the benefits of being part of and contributors to a growing economy.
Government understands the importance to the individual and society in general of having a nation that is at work in an economy that benefits our own citizens and the growing number of investors, trade partners and tourists who see South Africa as a land of opportunity.
This is why government’s key focus right now is jobs, jobs and more jobs. And this is why we have launched initiatives such as the Youth Employment Service to ensure that South Africans – and our young people in particular – enjoy the dignity that comes with being productive and self-sufficient.
Employment plays a big part in curbing poverty and eradicating social ills that have gripped our society and particularly affect the youth.
There are various factors that contribute to unemployment, including a sluggish economy, factors the global economy that impact on us, and corruption and inefficiency in some public institutions and state-owned enterprises.
We have therefore put in place various inquiries into state capture and other activities by public servants and people or organisations in the private sector who have over time robbed our country of money and other resources that should have been used to give us the better life for which we are all working.
We have identified our problems, we have acknowledged our shortcomings, and we have begun to end the rot and start the growth we need so urgently.
We are addressing them so that we can build the South Africa we want. A South Africa where citizens are able to live free from poverty.
Over the last few months, we have taken decisive steps to improve the business environment, promote the country to investors, ensure policy certainty, strengthen state owned companies and create pathways into employment for the youth.
We are working with labour, business and communities to forge a new social compact around job creation, which will form the basis for a broader compact around growth, development and transformation.
The Jobs Summit, scheduled to take place in October this year, is an important part of this effort.
The Summit will look at what we need to do to ensure our economy grows and becomes more productive; that companies invest on a far greater scale; that workers are better skilled and equipped, and that our economic infrastructure is expanded.
With preparatory work already underway in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the Jobs Summit is expected to come up with practical solutions and initiatives that will be implemented immediately.
This Summit will ensure that all actors in our economy understand our problems and our prospects for recovery in a better way, and that we are all able to get on with the job of creating jobs.
One of the sectors with a crucial role in growing our economy and creating jobs is agriculture. South Africa’s GDP increased at a better than expected rate in 2017, with agriculture, forestry and fisheries driving a good deal of this relative positivity.
These sectors’ contribution to the GDP was 2.4percent in 2017. The sectors have expanded for four consecutive quarters.
The total volume of South African agriculture production for 2017 was estimated at 62.9 million tonnes compared to 50.8 million tonnes in 2016. This represents a 24 percent increase.
With the potential for success that agriculture holds, we need to make the agricultural sector more appealing to the youth or in young people lingo ‘cool’.
Young South Africans must know there is a future in farming, that it is a part of our economy whose potential we have only just begun to explore.
Looking at the South Africa’s international links with regards to the agricultural sector, South Africa's agriculture exports increased to R127.85 billion in 2017 from R112.07 billion in 2016, boosted by growth in edible fruits, beverages, spirits as well as prepared fruits, vegetables and nuts.
South African agriculture products continue to benefit from the Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement of the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the East African Community.
We foresee these markets opening even more as a result of the Jobs Summit. It is my hope that players in this area will make meaningful contribution during the Jobs Summit.
Let us unite in creating dignified jobs and growing our economy.