JOB creation and a strong economy can only be established on the foundation of non-tolerance to corruption, says Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Employment and Labour.

He said South Africa was facing massive problems of corruption and “a fight-back by the corrupt forces, some hiding within the ranks of the liberation movement, seeking to frustrate attempts to defeat corruption and rebuild state institutions”. The minister was speaking during the annual general meeting of Productivity SA at the Midrand Conference Centre recently.

Nxesi said the meeting came at a critical point when the country was faced with a sluggish economy amid falling productivity, global uncertainty and rampant nationalistic protectionism, high unemployment – especially among the youth – poverty and inequality, and the fourth industrial revolution.

In addition to championing decent work and healthy labour relations, the department will also focus on implementing active labour market policies to leverage the resources to preserve and create jobs, as well as appropriate training and retraining that meet the skills demanded by the labour market.

He reiterated the government’s intention to leverage the resources of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund to preserve and create jobs. He emphasised the need to promote synergies between the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and Productivity SA to assist companies that are in distress.

“The reconfiguring of the department to include Employment must include an enhanced role for Productivity SA, which is already supporting and training small and micro enterprise businesses. We are also beefing up Public Employment Services to streamline the placement of job seekers (the roll-out of online Youth Centres providing a free service to employers and job seekers including psychometric testing, career counselling, generating of CVs and verification of qualifications),” he said.

Nxesi commended Productivity SA. “Productivity SA has a major role to play in the reconfiguration of the government and the department, with the focus now on jobs. It is now our task to make the case for improved competitiveness and productivity as major drivers of growth and employment,” he said.

Productivity SA was created to promote employment growth and productivity, thereby contributing to socio-economic development and competitiveness. It is the forerunner of the National Productivity Institute.

Outgoing chairman of Productivity SA, Mthunzi Mdwaba, said that for the past four years the outgoing board had been operating in “stormy waters”. He added that the year under review had been tough.

He said he was encouraged that South Africa’s competitiveness had improved from 67 to 60 in rankings.

Issued by the Department of Employment and Labour.

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