A strong economy and job creation can only be created on the back of non-tolerance to corruption, said Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.
The Minister made the remark while addressing this year’s Productivity SA annual general meeting (AGM) at the Midrand Conference Centre on Friday.
In a statement issued by the department, Nxesi said South Africa was facing massive problems of corruption “and a fight-back by the corrupt forces – some hiding within the ranks of the liberation movement, seeking to frustrate attempts to defeat corruption and rebuild state institutions”.
The Minister said the meeting comes at a critical point when the country was faced with a sluggish economy, amidst falling productivity, global uncertainty and rampant nationalistic protectionism, high unemployment – especially amongst the youth, persistent poverty and inequality, and a fourth industrial revolution which brings with it disruption and new opportunities in equal measure.
According to Nxesi the newly-named Department of Employment and Labour points to the President’s priorities – that of growth and jobs. He said, in addition to championing the decent work and healthy industrial relations, the department would also focus on implementing active labour market policies with the objectives of leveraging the resources to preserve and create jobs, as well as appropriate training and re-training which meets the skills demanded by the labour market.
Nxesi reiterated the government’s intent to leverage the resources of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund to preserve and create jobs. He emphasised the need to promote synergies between the CCMA and Productivity SA to assist companies in distress.
“The reconfiguring of the Department to include Employment – must include an enhanced role for Productivity SA, which is already supporting and training small and micro enterprise businesses.
“We are also beefing up Public Employment Services to streamline the placement of work seekers (the roll-out of online Youth Centres providing a free service to employers and work seekers including psychometric testing, career counselling, generating of CV’s and verification of qualifications),” he said.
Nxesi said Productivity SA was an institution whose time has arrived.
“Productivity SA has a major role to play in the reconfiguration of government and the Department – with the focus now on jobs. It is now our task to make the case for improved competitiveness and productivity as major drivers of growth and employment,” said the Minister.
Productivity SA was created to promote employment growth and productivity thereby contributing to South Africa’s socio-economic development and competitiveness. Productivity SA is established in terms of section 31 (1) of the Employment services Act, No. 4 of 2014 as a juristic person. Its forerunner is the National Productivity Institute.
Outgoing Chairman of Productivity SA, Mthunzi Mdwaba, said the past four years have not been plain sailing, saying the outgoing board has been operating in ‘stormy waters’.
Mdwaba said what was disheartening for Productivity SA was the country’s high unemployment perched at 29 percent.
The term of the board of Productivity SA comes to an end at the end of next month. The board would have served four years.
He said he was encouraged that South Africa’s competitiveness has improved from 67 to 60. After 50 years of existence he said Productivity SA was destined to look into a new trajectory.
“Productivity SA is poised to lead an economic growth driven by productivity,” Mdwaba said.