Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma says a joint task team of government and business executives will be established to focus solely on economic growth and job creation.
The President announced this shortly after meeting with CEOs of top companies in Cape Town on Tuesday. The meeting was also attended by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and several Cabinet Ministers.
Presentations were made by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and a representative from the business sector.
“… We are going to have a small group that is going to sit and work out the things we agreed on … that we can do concretely to ensure that we grow the economy and deal with the issue of unemployment.
“Jabu Mabuza, the President of Business Unity South Africa and Minister Gordhan will create the group,” the President said.
Tuesday’s meeting follows a successful working visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, by Team South Africa, which comprised Cabinet Ministers and South African business executives.
The Presidency said CEOs of top companies commended the President for convening both the pre-and post-Davos meetings. The high office said it was agreed that the meeting had opened channels of communication between government and the business sector, a move that will improve trust and confidence going forward.
The meeting discussed practical steps that should be taken by both government and business to address the immediate challenge of an adverse economic environment. Concrete proposals on actions to be taken to grow the economy and create jobs, especially to reduce youth unemployment, were also discussed.
There were also proposals on steps to be taken to prevent the sovereign downgrade; develop small and medium enterprises and to strengthen public-private partnerships in certain areas of the economy.
The meeting also discussed the challenges caused by drought in the agricultural sector and specific proposals were made to mitigate its impact, especially on poor people.
The President said once the joint task team has done its work, a meeting will be convened to allow them to present their report.
“Once the group has dealt with those issues… we will [call a] meeting to listen to that report… Once [the report] has been adopted, we will then take it as our programme and we will dissolve that committee because we don’t want to form another structure. It is short-lived, unless that meeting takes a different direction.”