Zuma marks May Day

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma marked Workers' Day celebrations on Sunday by reiterating government's commitment to creating jobs.

Zuma said that the government had declared 2011 the year of economic transformation and job creation.

He said that "creating decent work is at the centre of our economic policies and our work.

"Research has indicated that we can create jobs in six priority areas. These are infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism."

He said that they had identified the fisheries industry within as a "key potential jobs and economic growth driver, providing opportunities to rural fishing communities along South Africa's 3000 kilometre coastline.

Since assuming control of the Fisheries Sector in 1994, Zuma said the government had brought about remarkable change to an industry that was previously dominated by five big white-owned fishing companies throughout the apartheid era.

"Today, up to sixty percent of all fishing rights in this multibillion rand sector are awarded to previously disadvantaged fisher folk and fishing communities. "However, this industry still remains confronted by serious structural challenges. Big fishing companies still control the bulk of the industries catch, process and marketing infrastructure.

"New entrants are unable to operate without the infrastructure and marketing network of big business," Zuma said.

He said that working with big companies, government intended to tackle "this financial disparity head-on."

He said: "We have to ensure that the broad-based aspirations of rural inland and coastal fishing communities are appropriately accommodated."

The celebrations were attended by over 2000 people at the Athlone Stadium, Cape Town.