Pretoria - The government will disburse R25bn over the next six years to invigorate industrial development zones and create jobs, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday.
The money would also support the transition to a greener economy and “leverage” infrastructure investments and risk-sharing partnerships with the private sector.
The package would include temporary mechanisms to bolster productivity and innovation in industries that have demonstrated long-term competitive potential.
These sectors include finance, mining, wholesale retail and trade and business services.
“Funding of the package over the next three years would be contained within the available fiscal envelope,” Gordhan said.
Gordhan said trade, industrial and energy policies needed to be aligned to support the transition towards a green economy.
Electricity demand management measures had also been given greater stimulus and environmental employment programmes had received additional funds.
IDC, DBSA to play role
Policies to ensure the sustainable use of resources include the financing of green projects by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
They also include carbon emissions reduction through government’s integrated resource plan and the proposed carbon tax.
Meanwhile, Gordhan said the labour market in South Africa remained sluggish but the state is still the country’s largest employer.
About half of all jobs created over the past 15 months were in the public sector.
“Provincial government accounts for about three-fifths of public sector jobs (mainly in education and health), national government about a quarter and local government about 15%,” he said.
Gordhan added that unemployment rose from 21.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 25.7 % in the second quarter of this year.
This figure did not capture the estimated 2.2 million workers who had stopped looking for work.
Formal sector non-agricultural job creation had been concentrated in government.
But finance, real estate and business services, retail and wholesale trade and mining had created net employment over the last year.
“Job creation had been particularly weak for young people and the less skilled," Gordhan said.