Auto, mining, IT earmarked for jobs
Cape Town - Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel on Tuesday outlined developments in car manufacturing, mining and the IT industry he said would create thousands of new jobs.
Patel told the National Assembly that car makers - including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota - had announced a total of R10bn worth of investment in South Africa. Two of the contracts alone would create 2 000 jobs.
Another 2 000 jobs will be created in the IT sector, in part through state plans to incentivise the manufacture of devices that can convert old televisions to the digital platform.
Patel said a baby care project announced by Proctor & Gamble and new investments by Nestlé and Pioneer in the agro-processing sector would also contribute to job creation.
Elaborating on President Jacob Zuma's commitments on curbing unemployment, Patel said the government would set modest job creation goals for this year and build up towards its target of creating five million new jobs by 2020.
"This year we will take steps that will facilitate immediate job-creation and also lay the basis for long-term sustainable job creation," he told MPs in the debate on the president's speech.
"Our approach is to begin with more modest targets for the first five years and progressively build on these, to achieve the five million jobs by 2020."
Patel added that the country could only achieve this ambitious target "if we unlock the job-creating capacity in the private sector".
He said the government recognised that well-designed developmental programmes that fight poverty, inequality and unemployment would in themselves promote economic growth and employment.
The Zuma administration believed that many South Africans lived on the sidelines of the economy because of a lack of infrastructure like roads and electricity.
"We need to fix this. We will use infrastructure as a key trigger for growth and jobs," he said.
"Over the next four years to 2014, our infrastructure expenditure estimates provide for more than a quarter trillion rands a year."
Eskom and Transnet would play a vital role in improving infrastructure but would also stimulate the economy and "create jobs on scale".
The electricity supplier would enroll 8 000 artisans by 2015 and is expected to have 6 800 new qualified artisans.
He said the Industrial Development Corporation "can do more" to strengthen investment in industrialisation, and would over the next five years allocate R25bn to investments in the green economy and R5bn for agro-processing partnerships with the private sector.
Mining had a vital role to play, and created 17 000 new jobs in 2010, Patel said.
The government would work with the industry to expand mining output, and hoped to set up an integrated metals beneficiating plant.
If studies showed that it were feasible, the venture would involve R15bn worth of investment and had the potential to create 7 000 jobs in building and operating the plant, he said.