Zuma wants more job creation

Port Elizabeth – President Jacob Zuma said the sluggish pace of job creation in the country needs renewed national attention.

Zuma made the statement during the Automotive Industry Job Creation Monitoring Meeting in Port Elizabeth, where he met with some of the country’s key automotive sector stakeholders on Wednesday.

“I decided to meet with the transport equipment sector in particular, given its central role in this province’s economy, an economy that doesn’t have other anchor industries such as mining,” said Zuma.

He said his visit follows government’s recognition that the automotive sector is a key growth sector in the economy.

Speaking about the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) near Port Elizabeth, Zuma said government’s decision to invest more than R10 billion in the port of Coega and the IDZ has paid off.

“We are pleased that the IDZ is now home to more than 20 companies in sectors such as renewable energy, automotive components, call centres, agro-processing and logistics. There are a lot of encouraging developments at Coega IDZ and government will continue to provide support,” said Zuma.

He did, however express, concern about the number of setbacks that have confronted government’s vision to create five million jobs by 2020.

“About 152 000 new jobs have been created since the low point in the third quarter of 2010, mostly in the formal sector. At this point, there are 64 000 more jobs in the economy than a year ago, but total employment, including both paid jobs and self-employment, is still substantially below 2008 levels,” said Zuma.

He said the pace of quarterly job growth has slowed and that jobs were lost in the manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors in the second quarter.

He said it was worrying that mostly young people were losing their jobs, adding that while young people account for 30% of employed people, they also accounted for 60% of all job losses.

“Given the sluggish pace of job creation, our decision to focus directly on this priority this year was correct. It really needs renewed national attention. We will work much harder together to reach the New Growth Path target for 2020, which is five million jobs,” said Zuma.

He said government was taking decisive steps to achieve this aim by maintaining high levels of infrastructure expenditure and promoting labour-intensive production in particular.

He said in the short term, government will continue to promote public employment schemes through its Community Works Programme and the Jobs Fund.

By Thando Cezula, BuaNews

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