President Cyril Ramaphosa says government has a national plan to create jobs and make a dent on poverty and inequality.
In response to the debate on his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Tuesday, the President said while he has announced plans to convene a jobs and an investment summit, South Africa has the National Development Plan (NDP), which puts the country on a path to prosperity.
The NDP, launched in 2012, is a detailed blueprint for how the country can eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by the year 2030.
“Some of you [MPs] have said, ‘President, you come before us and you don’t have a plan. You come before us and you are calling for summits and conferences and so forth’. Yes, you are right but we have a plan. I have a plan – the National Development Plan. That is our plan,” the President said to loud applause from MPs.
The President said he had decided to convene a summit to heed a call from the working class, who have for a long time called for a jobs summit to address unemployment in the country.
“I come before you calling for summits, calling for all those consultative processes because our people want to be involved. They want to participate. Throughout our history, we have used collaboration and partnership to overcome the greatest of difficulties and resolve the most intractable of problems.”
The President said at the centre of government’s approach to improving the lives of all citizens is the Madiba way of getting people involved in changing their lives for the better and making them, as Madiba urged, ‘their own liberators’.
“It is our intention, through initiatives like the Jobs Summit, which by the way has been called for by the trade union movement in our country.
“The federations that represent the working class in our country are the ones who have said they want a jobs summit because they want to sit down with government, with communities and … (other) workers to chart the way forward on how we can create jobs.
“A clever government will heed that call and say, ‘yes, that is what we want to do.
Yes, we want a Social Sector Summit as well to bring together all our people who have the skills, insights, experiences and capabilities of all South Africans to address critical challenges in our society’.”
The President said government wants to invite all South Africans to participate, to lend a hand.
“This we have to do because our people want to be involved. They say, ‘Nothing about us without us’.”
Meanwhile, the President said come the day of the Investment Summit, he would like to see the best companies in the country, the best companies on the continent, as well as the best companies in the world get together and make commitments on investments that are going to create jobs for all South Africans.
Presidents meets budding entrepreneurs during his early morning walk
Leading up to Tuesday afternoon’s address to the House, the President said he met a lady from Gugulethu, who runs a bag making business. He said someone like her was a perfect fit to receive the necessary assistance in order to be transformed into a black industrialist.
“The need for government to support entrepreneurs has emerged as a recurring theme in the broader debate on SONA.
“[On Tuesday] morning as I walked with several people in Gugulethu and Athlone, I met a woman called Thulake, who runs a bag making business.
“She started her business with a partner in Gugulethu with R3 000.
“Today, it’s got a net asset value of R700 000. She needs to have a factory and looks to her government to build the infrastructure that can make her business grow,” he said.
Paying suppliers in 30 days
President Ramaphosa said government has received numerous calls to pay suppliers timeously.
“A Mr Ismail Ebrahim wrote to us on Facebook. He said: ‘Mr President, I am a small businessman trying to start a business the honest way. I have been sent from pillar to post for the last seven years between Departments of Water, Energy and the City of Tshwane. I have stood in queues for days and only get excuses or no response at all. My business will create jobs, but the government red tape is stifling our entrepreneurship. Please help’.
“The frustration that these entrepreneurs have to endure at the hands of the very State that is supposed to assist them is a matter of great concern.
“It is clear that the failure of some government departments to pay suppliers within 30 days has a devastating impact on small and medium-sized businesses.
“This is something that I want to see addressed as I visit government departments because the culture of late payment has gone on for far too long and has caused far too much damage, particularly to emerging black businesses.”
This article was originally published on SANews.gov.za.