‘Five million new jobs possible’

2011-01-17 13:07

The ANC is confident that five million jobs can be created in the next decade, with rural development contributing an expected half a million jobs and manufacturing 350 000, ruling party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said today.

A big increase in public sector employment would help South Africa achieve the job creation target, set out in government’s new economic growth path blueprint.

“The ANC is confident that in the next 10 years the economy will be able to create five million jobs and thus reduce our unemployment rate from the present 25% to at least 15%,” Mantashe told journalists in Johannesburg.

He was briefing the media on the outcome of a ruling party national executive committee lekgotla held last week.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs... Everyone must come up with practical programmes on how to create jobs,” he said.

The bulk of the jobs – half a million – would be created in rural development and the ANC envisions an overall increase of 10% of jobs in the government sphere.

The ruling party hopes to create 250 000 jobs in agriculture, 140 000 in mining output and beneficiation, 225 000 in tourism, 50 000 in business services and 300 000 in the green economy by 2020, increasing to 400 000 in this sector by 2030.

The knowledge economy – information and communication technology, higher education, healthcare and new technologies – was expected to create 100 000 new jobs, the social economy 260 000 jobs and African regional development would create 150 000 jobs.

Cabinet yesterday began its annual January lekgotla in Limpopo, with the economy and job creation at the top of the agenda.

It is expected to see ministers asked to put decisions taken at the ruling party meeting into plans of action.

Government departments will notably be tasked with coming up with concrete proposals on creating work.

While ANC ally, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, has criticised the New Growth Path, the party is adamant that the plan be implemented now and tweaked later.

“We’ll correct them as we move,” said Mantashe acknowledging that there were flaws but the plan provided a starting point.

An alliance summit is scheduled for February where the allies could voice their concerns over the plan.

Mantashe said the allies had agreed that job creation had to be their top priority.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu dismissed reports that Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi’s criticism of the plan was “shot down” at last week’s lekgotla.

“That’s very far from the truth.... there was no blood on the floor,” he said, describing talks at the lekgotla as “positive, constructive debate”.

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