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Youth unemployment must be key focus of job summit - Alan Winde

The two-day summit is intended to determine what needs to be done to grow the economy, better equip workers and expand infrastructure.

Leaders of government, labour, business and civil society gathering at Nedlac for a government’s two-day job summit. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape government says while it welcomes government’s two-day job summit that starts in Johannesburg on Thursday, it can’t be allowed to become another talk shop.

Unemployment now stands at 27.2%, while youth unemployment is as high as 38.8%.

The summit is intended to determine what needs to be done to grow the economy, better equip workers and expand infrastructure.

Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde says South Africa’s track record of low growth, ratings agency downgrades and policy under certainty around mining and land reform are not creating a receptive environment for investment.

At 20.7%, unemployment is the lowest in the Western Cape.

The province created 40% of all new jobs in the country in the second quarter of 2018.

Winde says that while government’s economic stimulus package aimed at promoting growth and investment is a good start, more needs to be done.

He says youth unemployment is at a crisis level and this must be a key focus of the jobs summit.

“What we need to get out of this job summit is not a talk shop, we need to have action, we need to make sure we have policy certainty, we need to remove red tape, we need to make it easy for business to start, we need to make it easy for investors to invest in our country, we need to make it easy to create jobs.”

Winde says South Africans are struggling under the burden of fuel price increases, a value-added tax (VAT) hike and soon, another electricity price hike.

He says he hopes the summit will take a hard look at the roles all South Africans need to play to ensure they can work and create opportunities for themselves.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)