President Cyril Ramaphosa says the main focus of government’s economic recovery are on five key areas; the creation of jobs, the re-industrialisation of the economy, economic reforms, fighting crime and corruption and improving the capacity of the state.
Ramaphosa says the plan is guided by the vision 2030 of the National Development Plan and the programme that was outlined at the beginning of the sixth democratic administration.
The President was addressing a joint sitting of Parliament on government’s plan to get the economy back into a job-creating growth path following the national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). South Africa was already in recession when the pandemic struck.
“The objectives of the plan are clear. Firstly, it is to create jobs, primarily through aggressive infrastructure investment and mass employment programmes. Secondly, to re-industrialise our economy; focusing on small businesses, growing them, and strengthening medium and large businesses. Thirdly, it is to accelerate economic reform. Fourthly, to fight crime and corruption. And fifthly, to increase the capability of the state,” Ramaphosa said.
The President says the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened challenges around poverty and inequality have in the country, threatening many South Africans with hunger and a sudden loss of income.
The interventions outlined in the recovery plan include the following:
- Achieve sufficient, secure and reliable energy supply within two years
- Create and support over 800 000 work opportunities in the immediate term to respond to job losses
- Unlock more than R1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next 4 years
- Reduce data costs for every South African and expand broadband access to low-income households
- Reverse the decline of the local manufacturing sector and promote reindustrialisation through deeper levels of localisation and exports
- Resuscitate vulnerable sectors such as tourism, which have been hard hit by the pandemic
Ramaphosa says government has committed R100 billion over the next three years to create jobs through public and social employment as the labour market recovers. The President says the economic recovery plan, known as the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, aims to create over 800 000 work opportunities in the immediate term.
More than 2 million people lost their jobs in the second quarter of 2020 as the economy contracted by 16.4%.
“We must get our people back into the jobs they lost in the pandemic. We are determined to create more employment opportunities for those who were unemployed before the pandemic or who had given up looking for work,” the President said.
The government aims to create employment opportunities in the following sectors:
- Create 300 000 opportunities for young people to be recruited as education and school assistants at schools throughout the country, to help teachers with basic and routine work so that more time is spent on teaching and enabling learners to catch up from time lost because of COVID-19.
- Create more than 60 000 jobs for labour-intensive maintenance and construction of municipal infrastructure and rural roads.
- Support healthcare system with an additional 6 000 community health workers and nursing assistants deployed as the country proceeds with the implementation of National Health Insurance.
- Expand public employment at the provincial and city level, contributing to cleaner, greener and safer public spaces and improved maintenance of facilities.
- Expand grant-making programmes in the creative, cultural and sports sector, and allocating funding to protect jobs in cultural institutions such as museums and theatres.
- Secure more than 40 000 vulnerable teaching posts in schools which have lost income from fees.
“The implementation of the employment stimulus has already commenced. Each of these work opportunities is fully funded and ready for implementation. The speed and urgency with which we are expanding employment programmes demonstrates our commitment to support those who are without work,” Ramaphosa said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa presents government’s economic recovery plan: