Cape Town - The country will need its entire skills base for the government's R300bn infrastructure programme, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel
said on Tuesday.
Asked about affirmative action, he told the Cape Town Press Club the government would make an "active attempt" to bring back South Africans with skills to take part in the programme.
"The infrastructure programme is so vast that we will need the entire skills base of society and more," he said.
"We will be making an active attempt to bring back South Africans with skills to take part in this programme."
Patel said South African engineers were sought after "around the world".
"I visited a Gulf state recently and I asked my counterpart how we could deepen economic relations. He said above all don't remove your engineers."
The government is looking at its immigration policies to attract the level of skills it needs.
He said the government wants to form deeper partnerships with universities to make sure the skills base is built up.
"In an expanding economy where you have a shortage, we need to bring in more and we need to bring them in quickly."