Jobs. Its been an issue for years, as the rate of unemployment shows no sign of improving, but a roundtable discussion between minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and the Black Business Council raised some promising ways to address this issue.
Black Business Council president Dr Danisa Baloyi proposed seven pillars of concern. Job creation and employment opportunities for younger South Africans were among those concerns.
In the presentation, Radebe said the majority of black people are still economically disempowered.
In February, Statistics South Africa reported the unemployment rate was at 26.5%, according to the 2016 Quarter 4 Labour Force Survey.
The National Development Plan goals include reducing the unemployment rate to 6%, creating about 11 million jobs by 2030 and “eradicating absolute poverty”.
Baloyi said she believes the private sector and government can work together to help achieve some of these goals.
Black Business Council members also expressed concern that South Africans were not being recognised for their skills and qualifications.
“Radical social economic transformation is on the agenda,” Radebe said. With the plan, he said, the goal is to “empower” South Africans.
“It cannot be business as usual,” he said.
Another NDP strategy that Radebe presented at the meeting was to develop the quality and curriculum of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.
“They are taught, I’m sorry to say, they are taught subjects that are supposed to be taught elsewhere,” Radebe said regarding technical colleges.
Radebe said children need to be taught science, maths and technology. These subjects are the future, he said.
“It was quite interesting to see that in our country there are young people in that space who are innovators in technology that we need to support. But I’m also making a call out there to you that you need to support those young people. We are in a global competitive world,” said Dr Ntsiki Tshayingca-Mashiya.
The minister and others from the department of planning, monitoring and evaluation also called on the Black Business Council and its member to engage with the department on these issues and policy.
“This was the first time we had a formal roundtable,” Baloyi said.
“He assured us that for his ministry to succeed they need to know what’s going on.”
The Black Business Council represents black businesses in South Africa and internationally. Some of its members include the Black Business Executive Circle, South African Women in Construction and the National Society of Black Engineers.