Opening remarks by the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, on the occasion of the Jobs Summit held on 4-5 October 2018 in Johannesburg, Gauteng
His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa
Leaders of our social partners, Organised Business, Organised Labour, Community Constituency;
Senior Government Officials here present
Ladies and gentlemen
We gather this afternoon against the backdrop of the untimely passing away of a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend and a comrade, Ednah Molewa. In her, South Africa has lost a leader, an activist, a patriot and a revolutionary who has been called to Her Maker, leaving us bereft.
It is particularly difficult to come to terms with her passing, given that she was cut down in the prime of her life, when she still had so much to offer to her family, her friends, her colleagues, and to her country.
She has left an indelible mark in the lives of the millions of people who had the privilege and honour of knowing her. We, and those who knew and loved her, should take comfort today that her Lord will say, as he did in the Gospel of Matthew: “Well done, my good and faithful servant” - and welcome her into His Kingdom.
May her Soul rest in eternal peace!!! Thank you.
Fellow South Africans, we are gathered here this afternoon, as part of the collective to address the challenges facing our nation. In the first State of the Nation Address, His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, made the commitment to convene a Jobs Summit to address the issue of unemployment in our country. Today is the moment of truth as others would call it.
It is important to note, that there is greater optimism and confidence in our country’s economy and its trajectory these days. However, unemployment must be tackled decisively and radically, in order for us to see a positive change.
The convening of this Jobs Summit, is but one of the measures to address this matter and the plight of our young people.
Government, business, labour and community formations, should use this platform to identify solutions to jobs retention, and to identify job creation challenges and opportunities that each social partner can contribute towards.
This summit has raised huge expectations among our people, and we dare not fail them. It is expected of us to come up with practical solutions and initiatives that are capable of being implemented immediately.
Programme Director, our task as South Africans, is to seize this moment of hope and renewal, and to work together, to meet the goal of raising employment, in line with the National Development Plan, the country’s 2030 vision.
I am optimistic that all of us, especially the youth, will use this opportunity to share their ideas as to how they think we can better address the unemployment challenge.
The road to this summit has meant that the five Working Committees has to dedicate time and energy to develop the various interventions that are the cornerstone of the Agreement.
The Working Committees dealt with a range of key issues in search for those interventions that could deliver the desired impact within the shortest possible time frame.
You will observe that as we get on with our work, today and tomorrow, you will realise that social partners were able to reach agreements on a range of issues, spanning the five key focus themes. These include theme specific interventions covering Economic Sector Specific Interventions; SMME Interventions, Inclusive Growth Interventions, Education and Skills Interventions and Public and social interventions.
You will also notice that the approach to this work, was guided by not seeking to do too many things, but focus on key strategic areas that promise greater impact within the shortest possible time. To achieve these outcomes, it will require high levels of discipline from all of us and to provide leadership in instances of bottlenecks.
Let’s make South Africa work.
I thank you.