Measures in place to address triple challenges

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says several interventions are being implemented to address poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday, the Deputy President said the agreement by social partners on the national minimum wage, which was reached in February this year, paves the way for government to shift to next gear.

“These agreements have paved the way for the tabling to Parliament of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. 
 
“The introduction of a national minimum wage is intended to significantly improve the lives of the lowest paid workers in our country. This is an important intervention aimed at reducing wage poverty.

“Well over 4 million workers will see their wages increase to a minimum of R20 an hour, hopefully en route to a living wage,” he said.

He was responding to a question by Mandla Rayi, an ANC MP from the Eastern Cape, on the progress that has been made to address the triple challenges.

In February this year, the Deputy President announced that social partners had reached an agreement and that a national minimum wage of R20 per hour will be introduced and commence on 1 May 2018.

They also agreed on a number of matters, including a Code of Good Practice and an Accord on Collective Bargaining and Industrial Action in which all social partners commit to take all steps necessary to prevent violence, intimidation and damage to property.

The Accord also seeks to improve the capacity of the social partners and other agencies to resolve disputes peacefully and quickly.

The Deputy President also said at the time that Amendments to the Labour Relations Act would be aimed at further strengthening collective bargaining and dispute resolution.
 
Addressing MPs on Wednesday, the Deputy President said combined with strong collective bargaining and agreement on annual adjustments, government was confident that workers in South Africa will have their dignity restored.

He also said that on the broader question of unemployment and poverty, government is intensifying the implementation of a number of interventions to address these challenges.

Oceans Economy

“The Nine Point Plan, as one of the interventions, seeks to unlock the job creation potential of cooperatives, small and medium enterprises, revitalise rural and township enterprises and to re-energise longstanding and greenfield sectors like the Oceans Economy.
 
“Our interventions in the Oceans Economy have unlocked significant investments that will create jobs. This initiative has attracted up to R24.6 billion in investments, with government contributing R15 billion.

“The Department of Trade and Industry is currently providing incentive support to the tune of R428.9 million for investment in ports, marine manufacturing (boat building) and aquaculture.”

The Deputy President said working with the private sector, government was finalising plans to launch the Youth Employment Service, a scheme that will provide work experience for up to one million young people over the next three years.

“All these actions constitute a basket of interventions to reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“The recent news that we are out of the technical recession should tell us that social dialogue is bearing fruit and that if we put people first, we will indeed move South Africa forward.” – SAnews.gov.za

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