27 October 2010
South Africans from all walks of life must ask themselves what they can do to help create jobs and address South Africa’s unemployment rate, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Speaking to journalists before presenting his medium-term budget policy statement to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Gordhan said the government’s new economic growth path called for a “radical shift” in the South African economy.
The new plan, which was announced by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel on Tuesday and would be mapped out over the next six months, sets the ambitious target of creating five million jobs by 2020.
“The growth path isn’t about how we create a few jobs in a few sectors,” Gordhan said. “It’s about saying, how do we take every sector of the South African economy and our society and ask the question, what does each one of us have to contribute in order for South Africa to move itself onto a completely new growth trajectory.”
He said no “cosmetic change” in the country’s economy and current way of doing business would bring down the country’s unemployment rate of 25 percent.
“No cosmetic change is going to ensure that nobody goes to bed in South Africa hungry. That must be an objective that all of us must share.
“No cosmetic change is going to address the skills question in South Africa, which is a serious constraint on economic growth,” Gordhan said. “It’s a serious constraint on what kind of jobs we can create and what kind of businesses and industries we can create in South Africa.
“We can’t have lots of people sitting at the low end in terms of the skills that we are going to create and then say we are going to create high-end jobs.”
Gordhan said South Africa needed to build a plan which allowed entrepreneurs, workers and professionals to flourish.