Economy must transform to meet development demands

Friday, March 8, 2024

All sectors of the economy must adjust to new demands for personnel, skills, research, digital connection, and alternative platforms for education, health, and public services. 

This is according to the Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, who was speaking at the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) retreat in Johannesburg on Friday.

“For us to match with the new demands, we must undergo a rapid paradigm shift and reorientation to realign the content of our curriculum offerings and skills development programmes,” he said. 

Chaired by the Deputy President, the HRDC is an apex national, multi-sectoral advisory body established to create a collective response to the national challenge of human resource development in the country.

Human resource development refers to formal and explicit activities that will enhance the ability of all people to reach their full potential and serve to improve the productivity of people in their areas of work.

The council’s term, which was established in 2010, ends on 31 March 2024.

However, government is looking into extending the existing term by six months to facilitate a seamless transition and process of appointing new council members.  

Guided by the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa (HRD-SA) 2010-2030, the council’s retreat is aimed at reflecting on and evaluating its work in terms of the progress made so far.

“I believe that the country’s re-conceptualised Human Resource Development Strategy and Master Skills Plan will give further impetus to our efforts to address skills shortages across all sectors of our economy.”

He said the Master Skills Plan consolidates previous strategies affecting skills development across the nation. 

These include the National Development Plan 2030, the National Skills Development Plan 2030, the Innovation and Skills Compact, and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework. 

The country’s second-in-command believes that the retreat should aim to influence the new Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) as government plans for the administration.

“It is only when the country’s human resource development priorities are in line with planning frameworks across departments, that the work of the Council will receive the necessary attention and traction it deserves.” 

The gathering is also an opportunity to zoom in on underlying challenges faced by the country, which serve as an impediment to achieving the council’s mandate, lessons learned and interrogating the need to change or restructure the council. 

The retreat also looks at key future focus areas to be attained in the remainder of the current term and beyond.

International Women's Day

He also shifted his focus to International Women's Day, which is celebrated annually on 8 March. 

The Deputy President said this year’s theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’ emphasises the need to address economic disempowerment and promote diversity and empowerment across all societal sectors. 

“As the HRDC, we anchor our support for women’s development on creating programmes that foster a supportive environment, promote skills acquisition, and provide access to resources, opportunities and quality education.” 

He also commended the former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for her role in championing global gender equality during her tenure as the Executive Director of United Nations Women.

“Our global efforts to leave no one behind are embedded in the strategic efforts towards gender equality, and as South Africa, we remain committed to championing the cause for both gender equality and gender justice.”

Human Rights Month

Deputy President Mashatile also touched on Human Rights Month, which recognises the constitutional right to basic education, including adult basic education, and further education, which he said the State must take reasonable measures to make progressively available and accessible.

Speaking at the launch of Human Rights Month earlier this week, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa called on all South Africans to participate in the activities planned for Human Rights Month.

The Minister said National Human Rights Day commemoration on 21 March, will be preceded by an International National Human Rights Conference, bringing together key stakeholders from across the globe as well as other government departments, to assess progress on the advancement of human rights since 1994.

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