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Marcus: Private sector must step up

Reserve Bank governor worried by unemployment, says mines can also create more jobs.

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus who says private sector and mines can both step up to increase employment. Picture: AFP.

SANDTON - The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Governor Gill Marcus said on Wednesday the private sector needed to work harder to create jobs for young people while arguing that the mining sector could also continue creating jobs.

Speaking at a labour law conference in Sandton, she also said it's a tragedy that mining companies haven't been able to capitalise on the weaker exchange rate because of on-going work stoppages in the sector.

Thousands of workers went on wildcat strikes last year and this meant that mining houses couldn't benefit from the weakening rand, she said.

However, she said mining houses couldn't only rely on the exchange rate for sustainability and other opportunities also had to be explored.

She said one of the weaknesses in the country's economy is that the mining sector hasn't exported enough goods to the global market.

"To me, the question would be, produce the goods and get them to market - get the income from it."

Marcus says Sarb and the Labour Department have met with mining industry bosses to encourage them to look at things differently in the sector.

She says there are great opportunities that can make mining sustainable and still create more jobs.

PRIVATE SECTOR MUST CREATE JOBS

At the same time, Marcus called on the rest of the private sector to play its part in employing more young workers, saying the state alone cannot create jobs.

The latest unemployment figures released this week show an increase in the number of jobless people, especially among those under the age of 35.

With developing technology, she argued, South Africans must be equipped with various skills to secure sustainable jobs.

She says the best way South Africa can address inequality in the future is through education, training, skills and sustainable jobs.

"People leaving school and university find difficulty getting a job. The unemployment rate, if I recall, for those with a tertiary education is around eight or nine percent, so obviously education matters."

Marcus is also concerned about the length of time people remain unemployed which she says keeps increasing.

LEGACY OF APARTHEID

Marcus said it takes decades for countries to transform their economies.

She added that the structural weaknesses in the economy created by the legacy of apartheid cannot be forgotten or ignored.

"The deep structural features of apartheid in the form of poor quality education for black people and job reservation have all contributed to the situation."

Marcus said South Africa's economy has to diversify in order to grow.

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