Pretoria - South Africa can create 11 million new jobs by 2030, the national development plan released on Friday proposes.
However, the country faces a quandary.
“The things that drive growth are not always the things that drive job creation – and the things that are good for job creation are not always good for growth,” according to an overview and vision statement for the national development plan developed by the National Planning Commission (NPC).
Public employment schemes, for example, give people work but are not good for economic growth.
On the other hand, jobs in labour intensive manufacturing are good for growth and jobs.
According to the plan, the economy needs both growth and jobs if it can successfully increase total employment from 13 million people to 24 million people in two decades.
This would reduce the unemployment rate from 27% now to 6% in 2030.
The NPC proposes creating an environment for sustainable employment and economic growth. This could be done by reducing the costs of doing business and living through microeconomic reforms in the areas of food, transport and telecommunications.
The most pressing constraints on growth, investment and job creation must be removed.
The plan acknowledges that South Africa is well endowed with mineral resources. However, “over the past decade the mining sector has failed to match the global growth trend in mineral exports due to poor infrastructure and regulatory and policy frameworks that hamper investment”.
It proposed addressing the major constraints impeding mining growth.
“These include uncertainties over ownership, tax treatment and allocation of mineral rights, the availability of electricity and the availability, cost and efficiency of transport networks.”
NPC deputy chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters in Pretoria that certainty about property rights is essential.
“In the end we would like to see more certainty on this issue of property relations.”
The difficult relationship between trade unions and employers needs to be addressed.
“It is inconceivable that the economy will evolve in a more labour-intensive manner if the present state of tension between employers and labour persists.
“Promoting more rapid, job-creating growth means tackling these tensions in an honest and open manner.”
The public works programme should be expanded to cover 2 million full-time equivalent jobs by 2020. Employers should receive a tax subsidy to reduce the initial cost of hiring young people.
South Africa should adopt a more open immigration approach to expand its supply of high-level skills.
Labour market regulation should change to make it easier to dismiss workers for poor performance or misconduct.
The plan suggests South Africa should develop niche products to capture a small share of global demand in areas where local firms can be competitive.
The NPC said it had built on the approach of the new growth path, which aims to create 5 million new jobs by 2020.