‘Unemployment is ANC’s biggest stain’ – mayor at investment conference

Some of the presenters during the panel discussion on project funding and finance. They are Cathrine Koffman (head: infrastructure and telecommunications Nedbank Group), Boni Muvevi (chief executive officer Gauteng Partnership Fund) and Daniel Page (consultant from Deloitte).

This is according to Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who spoke during the conference, which took place in Kempton Park from June 5 to 6.

The conference was attended by local investors, captains of industry, property developers and asset managers, including dignitaries from Turkey, Houston and China.

Masina said that the national liberation movement that was championed by OR Tambo had recognised its intrinsic value as the basis of good, accountable and people centred governance.

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba.

“We also acknowledge that the living standards in South Africa are much higher today than was the case at the dawn of our democracy in 1994.

“Despite visible and tangible gains, the sad reality is that the community of Ekurhuleni still has to confront socio-economic challenges.

The challenges are characterized by the legacy of nine former towns and 17 townships with no single city core, a fragmented and dispersed urban structure of towns and townships, a declining manufacturing base, high levels of poverty and homelessness, ageing infrastructure and service delivery capacity constraints

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina.

Masina pointed out that the biggest struggle facing the younger generation was that of attaining economic freedom.

“The reality for many young South Africans is still a harsh one, as the country’s unemployment figures remain exceedingly high.

“One of the greatest stains for the governing ANC and the ANC Youth League has been the colossal failure to stem the tide of unemployment.”

Cathrine Koffman speaking at the two-day conference, which took place at Emperors Palace.

Masina made reference to the latest quarterly labour survey, which revealed that young people between the ages of 15 and 34 made up 58 per cent of the additional 433 000 people seeking jobs, raising the youth unemployment rate of young people to 38.6 per cent.

He acknowledged that the situation was at its worst in 14 years.

Masina said the conference should not pass as another networking session, or talk shop, but assist government in restoring the faith of South Africans, more importantly the youth, in transforming the economy.

Member of the mayoral committee for human settlement Lesiba Mpya welcoming local investors to the Aerotropolis Industrial Cluster Development and Investment Conference.

“We no longer need to repackage old concepts; we need to deliver.

“Service delivery protests around the country are a reflection of how many of our people are idling in communities due to the increasing rate of unemployment.

“Leading from the front in these protests is the youth. This is a reflection of an agitated part of society which seeks answers for the current socio-economic disparities they are confronted with,” Masina said.

In regards to the City’s Ten Point Economic Plan, Masina said they have started to assemble land and property packages that are located within the Aerotropolis catchment and surrounding areas with a particular focus on the CBDs of Boksburg, Kempton Park and Germiston as priority Urban Development Zones.

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba also delivered a keynote address at the conference.

Gigaba said South Africa needs a social contract for growth, transformation and jobs.

Government needs a fully functional private sector in order to boost the business confidence we need to grow our economy and lay the basis for long-term sustainable inclusive growth.

“The private sector needs government too, in order to achieve its own goals.

“We need entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies who are eager to create and exploit opportunities to grow and who actively engage government as a partner in their efforts to grow and expand.”

Gigaba called on metros to play a leading role in turning the situation around. He said 57 per cent of the national economic product is generated within the eight metros.

“Our cities have long been growing faster than the national economy. Information available to the National Treasury shows that over the last five years, between 2011 and 2016, the metro economies grew by 11.1 per cent, but all other areas of South Africa combined managed to grow by only 4.6 per cent.”

He said in the last two years, between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2017, 448 000 jobs were created in the metros, but all other areas of South Africa combined managed to generate only 305 000 jobs.

  AUTHOR
Ntombikayise Sibeko
Journalist

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