Fuel from sugarcane part of govt job creation plan

2012-09-19 16:15

Plans are in the pipeline to ensure that a portion of the fuel South Africans use come from sugar beet and sugarcane, says Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.

Patel told the Cosatu congress in Midrand today that this was part of the government’s initiatives to grow the economy and create jobs.

He said an investment in bio-fuels in the Eastern Cape town of Cradock would help improve the lives of local residents.

Patel also said cities would source buses locally when they renew their public transport fleet, saying the City of Johannesburg had issued a contract for new buses in which it stipulated that 80% of the content of the buses be sourced locally.

Cosatu criticised the import of buses ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, saying it undermined plans to grow jobs locally.

Patel also told the congress that the government’s New Growth Path macro-economic strategy recognised the need for partnerships with labour and communities, which was why he had concluded four accords that covered areas such as education and local procurement of goods and services.

The plan aims to bring South Africa to full employment by creating 5 million jobs by 2020.

He said even though the economy had shed over 869 000 jobs before the strategy was crafted, 472 000 new jobs had been created after it was adopted.

“The rate of job creation must offer hope to the unemployed in South Africa,” Patel said.

The government had also introduced a new strategy to support the automotive industry.

“I am pleased that through these efforts, Toyota SA is restarting local production of minibus taxis, BMW has expanded its production of the 3-series vehicle, Ford is using South Africa as a base for exporting the Ford Ranger to more than 100 countries and Mercedes Benz nominated East London as one of a few global centres of production of the new C-Series car.

“Our estimates show that these investments will create about 11 000 jobs in the auto(motive) industry over the next three years,” Patel said.

Addressing the conference, Minister in the Presidency for National Planning Trevor Manuel asked Cosatu to support the 90% of the government’s long-term national development plan it agrees with.

They could find ways of dealing with the bits they still disagreed on, he said.

He asked the delegates to take responsibility for the problems confronting the country’s education system, and to help fix these.
He also told the congress that four out of 10 citizens lived below the poverty line of R432 a month, a state that helped to deepen poverty and inequality.

“Can we all stop outsourcing our responsibility. We can’t outsource our responsibility to those who are in Parliament or government. We are all responsible for the country we are living in,” Manuel said.

Follow @City_Press for updates from the Cosatu congress.

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