World Economy

Training Can Reduce Joblessness in South Africa

Training Can Reduce Joblessness in South AfricaTraining Can Reduce Joblessness in South Africa

The manufacturing sector in South Africa was key to creating employment as representatives from the government and the private sector said the up-skilling and training of South Africans was key to the economy going forward.

Speaking at the Manufacturing Indaba in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Minister Sihle Zikalala said the country needed to train at least 30,000 artisans a year if it wanted to make inroads in the high unemployment figure, IOL reported.

“We must invest in skills development and technology. The business must partner with government to ensure the manufacturing sector in the country is producing and working to deliver the jobs that are needed to grow the economy,” said Zikalala.

The economy has been negatively impacted after the volatile global economic conditions. “We need to stimulate growth and search for solutions and strategies for business to thrive so that we can create employment opportunities for our people. The manufacturing sector is the key for us if we want to deliver on those promises,” said Zikalala.

The economy is projected to grow by 0.1% this year, the International Monetary Fund said recently. According to Statistics SA, the unemployment rate stood at a staggering 26.6% in the June quarter this year. Zikalala said the government and the private sector had to ensure the sector did not decline further.

 Manufacturing Base

“The sector has declined from 19% in 1993 to 15% currently and we cannot allow it to drop further. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the policies stimulate growth in the economy. We must move away from drafting the policies to a period of implementation. The nine-point plan drafted by the government ensures that we start a period of creating a strong manufacturing base.”

Nigel Gwynne-Evans, the chief director for African Industrial Development with the Department of Trade and Industry, said: “Structural changes taking place in the Chinese economy has resulted in a very sharp reduction in demand for mineral commodities, including from South Africa, with significant knock-on effects to the broader economy. Combined with the serious effects of the drought, this is arguably the most significant contributor, amongst other factors, to the contraction in South Africa’s growth rate.”

In recognizing the challenges, KwaZulu-Natal has developed industrial economic hubs to enable trade. “We have Dube Trade Port and Richards’ Bay industrial development zone, two big economic hubs that can support big and small businesses to trade locally and internationally. We have focused on areas like agriculture which includes agro-processing, tourism, petroleum and motor industry,” said Zikalala.