Mabuza: Electricity shortage is a sign of growth

A growing economy like SA's is bound to face challenges, like electricity shortages, Deputy President David Mabuza told members of Parliament.

During a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, the deputy president was responding to a question about government's efforts to improve youth employment in light of the fourth industrial revolution.

DA MP John Steenhuisen had commented that a requirement for the fourth industrial revolution was electricity, before asking a question.

Mabuza responded to the comment, saying that the shortage of electricity was "a sign of growth".

"Yesterday electricity was only given to a few people, and today electricity is given to millions of people," he said. "Of course as we grow, we are going to encounter challenges of growth."

Leader of the African Christian Democratic Party Kenneth Meshoe also enquired how government would create jobs while the country faced challenges to energy security.

In response, Mabuza said government had initiated public employment programmes, such as the expanded public works programme. There are also training opportunities for low-skilled and unskilled people who did not have opportunities to go to school. Training colleges are furthermore providing vocational skills best suited for the needs of the economy.

He added that government supported small business development as a driver of economic growth.

Amendments to the Competition Act have also been passed to address monopolies and to give small businesses opportunities. 

Fourth industrial revolution

Speaking specifically to interventions related to the fourth industrial revolution, Mabuza referred to policy interventions in education announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Apart from realigning the basic education curriculum, government will look into private sector partnerships for skills development, among other things.

He told the National Assembly that government encouraged investment in research and encouraged innovation.

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