Radical economic transformation to address triple challenge

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pretoria – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu says it is crucial to push the process of radical economic transformation to address the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. 

Delivering the State of the Province Address in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, Premier Mchunu said the current pattern of employment and unemployment points to the fact that the current growth path of the province is still far from being inclusive. 

“Serious challenges are also being experienced in achieving the objective of enhancing decent employment, especially given the work conditions of those in informal employment,” Premier Mchunu said.

Both the 2015 KwaZulu-Natal Citizen Satisfaction Survey and the 2016 Community Survey, conducted by Stats SA, confirmed that although substantial progress has been made in addressing poverty in the province, the gains made are not adequate or at a pace to meet the expectations of its communities.

Premier Mchunu said that job creation remains central to achieving government’s objectives of inclusive growth, radical structural economic transformation, distributing the benefits of growth more widely and consequently reducing dependency on the welfare system, by broadening economic participation.

“The pattern and pace of economic growth needs to be adjusted and accelerated to achieve this outcome. It continues to require investment and interventions by both the public and private sectors to enable a conducive environment to further stimulate the generation of employment opportunities and inclusive economic growth.

“Government needs to be increasingly efficient and innovative, in view of increasingly limited financial and human resources, relative to what is required to achieve its development goals. Thus the imperative of radical economic transformation,” the Premier said.

As the province with the second largest contribution to the national economy, the Premier stressed the need to ensure that the call for radical economic transformation does not only remain a slogan, but “that it should find practical expression in our government and private sector programmes”.

Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation Programme

On the agricultural sector, Premier Mchunu said the province has embarked on a Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) Programme to explore opportunities for enhanced transformation in the sector.

However, he said the contribution of agriculture in the province to economic growth and job creation is still far below the potential of the sector and it is identified as “a catalyst for growth and food security”.

He said that the strategic logic for identifying agriculture as a growth sector is as a result of the ability of agriculture to deliver more jobs per rand invested than any other productive sector.

“The development of emerging farmers in this province is critical to economic upliftment, and the RASET Programme is aimed at improving the value chain of food production and supply for underprivileged farmers and emerging agri-businesses by attending to structural barriers associated within existing value chains,” the Premier said.

Premier Mchunu invited farmers’ unions, farmer workers’ unions and other stakeholders to work with the provincial government to ensure an effective implementation of RASET.

“We will form partnership with existing exporters and South African retailers.”

Departments that are central in RASET include the Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. The Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs main focus is the co-ordination and facilitation of access to funding. – SAnews.gov.za

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