Government identifies sectors to boost economic growth

Thursday, February 10, 2022

In an endeavour to revive South Africa’s economy, government has identified various sectors to stimulate investment and job creation.

“The hemp and cannabis sector has the potential to create more than 130 000 new jobs. We are therefore streamlining the regulatory processes so that the hemp and cannabis sector can thrive like it is in other countries such as Lesotho,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, the President said government will review the policy and regulatory framework for industrial hemp and cannabis to realise the huge potential for investment and job creation.

“Our people in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere are ready to farm with this age-old commodity and bring it to market in new and innovative forms,” President Ramaphosa said.

Last year, South Africa’s unemployment rate reached its highest recorded level.

The President said unemployment has been caused by low growth, which has in turn resulted from a long-term decline in investment.

“An important pillar of our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is to revitalise our manufacturing base and create globally competitive export industries. In the past year, we launched new master plans in the steel industry, furniture and global business services.

“Through these plans, business, government and labour are working together to increase production and create more jobs in the sector,” the President said.

In the clothing industry, a number of retailers have announced ambitious localisation sourcing plans.

“While we help existing industries to grow, we are also nurturing new opportunities for growth and jobs. Government and the private sector have worked closely together to grow the global business services sector from a small group of companies to one of the world’s leading players,” the President said.

The global business services sector is on track to create 500 000 new jobs over the next few years.

“To attract investors into the mining minerals needed in the new global economy, we will soon be finalising our mining exploration strategy. We will continue to support the development of the upstream gas industry, as it holds huge potential for job creation and broader economic development,” the President said.

Government will ensure that this is done in strict accordance with the environmental and other laws of the country.

“Our economy cannot grow without efficient ports and railways. Over several years, the functioning of our ports has declined relative to ports in other parts of the world and on the African continent. This constrains economic activity,” the President said.

He said the agricultural sector, for example, relies heavily on efficient, well-run ports to export their produce to overseas markets.

“Fresh produce cannot wait for days and even weeks stuck in a terminal. This hurts businesses and compromises our country’s reputation as an exporter of quality fresh produce.

“Transnet is addressing these challenges and is currently focused on improving operational efficiencies at the ports through procuring additional equipment and implementing new systems to reduce congestion,” the President said.

Transnet will ask for proposals from private partners for the Durban and Ngqura Container Terminals within the next few months, which will enable partnerships to be in place at both terminals by October 2022.

“Transnet will start the process of providing third-party access to its freight rail network from April 2022 by making slots available on the container corridor between Durban and City Deep in Gauteng.” 

In addition, Transnet has developed partnerships with the private sector to address cable theft and vandalism on the freight rail network through advanced technologies and additional security personnel.

This collaborative effort is already showing results in reduced disruptions to rail operations.

The President delivered the address during a hybrid joint sitting of the two Houses (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces) at the Cape Town City Hall.           

The event took place at the Cape Town City Hall, following the damage by fire to Parliament on Sunday, 2 January 2022. – SAnews.gov.za

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