“The real issue is not the target, the real issue is can we mobilise all of the South African resources… in order that all of us do what we can to put people into some kind of job,” Gordhan told the Foreign Correspondents Association in Johannesburg.
This included government, business and civil society.”We are not doing enough in South Africa as a whole,” he said.
The government had set the target of five million jobs by 2020, but Gordhan said it was more important to get everyone into some kind of job.
“In respect of our younger people, to have the basic experience of working, that is the objective at this point in time.”
Job creation was not the sole preserve of government, he said.
“You cant just look at government, because 70% of those jobs must come from the private sector.”
Its the private sector that must create jobs. For them to do this they must invest.”Gordhan said businesses had around R500 billion in profit surplus lying in banks, which they should be investing. Business, however, was risk averse, which he said was to some extent understandable.
Recent comments by First National Bank CEO Michael Jordaan were quite instructive, Gordhan said. Gordhan said Jordaan had said South African businesses needed to take a medium or long-term view, not just react to short-term risks.
“There are immense prospects that other countries are seeing on the African continent, that we ourselves are not seeing adequately,” Gordhan said.Business should also be taking advantage of opportunities offered by South Africas membership of BRICS – the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa economic partnership.
Gordhan said there needed to be frank talk about what was holding up investment, especially as the economy was recovering.
“The globe is not going to collapse… after every crisis there is a recovery. We are in a period of recovery, just a very uncertain one… [its] not very smooth.”
When asked whether South Africas labour laws were restricting job creation, Gordhan said there were efficient structures in South Africa for raising these issues.
“Whichever side has concerns should use those forums and create a climate for dialogue… and resolution so that we can move ahead.”
He said international organisations had different views on whether South Africas labour legislation was rigid.
“And by and large the view would be that we are not an overly rigid economy.”
He said anyone with concerns about the proposed labour law amendments should approach Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant as she had an open door.
The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill were adopted by Cabinet last month. They would now be considered by the Parliamentary portfolio committee on labour before being submitted to the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces for adoption.
This was after over a year of debate on the two bills in the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
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