Welcome address by the Minister of Labour, Hon Mildred Nelisiwe Oliphant, MP at the inaugural Jobs Summit and Jobs Fair in KwaZulu-Natal, Richards Bay, Towards decent work for jobseekers
5 Jul 2012
Your Excellency, President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob G Zuma
The Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize and your MECs
Ministers and Deputy Ministers represented here
The District Mayor
This is the second time that we meet under the auspices of the Jobs Fair but the first time that we have the Jobs Summit as well.
Ngifisa ukugcizelela njengoNgqongqoshe weZabasebenzi ukuthi, ngikuqonda ngokwanele ubunzima nobubha obusabhekene nabantu bakithi ngokuntuleka komsebenzi.
Ingakho namhlanje sihlangene nosomabhizinisi ukuhlahla indlela ezosiza ukuthi sikwazi ukuxosha ikati eziko emphakathini wethu.
You have asked all of us to put shoulder to wheel to ensure that we get the country working again.
You have further asked that all citizens give of themselves to ensure that those who are unfortunate enough not to be employed do not feel unwanted or even unworthy members of our society.
From the State of the Nation address, these words still ring true in our minds and ears: “We urge every sector and every business entity, regardless of size, to focus on job creation. Every contribution counts in this national effort. ”
This is our humble contribution.
At the recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference, esteemed struggle hero of Myanmar Aung Su Kyi said: “Hopelessness and not joblessness threatens our future”.
At the ILO conference, top of the agenda was the issue of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. Conference told us that there are over 75 million young people between the ages of 15-35 who are unemployed.
But we dare not make them lose hope. The main objective, esteemed guests, is to give hope to those who are teetering on the brink of hopelessness. The main objective is to bring together business and jobseekers with the hope that business will be able to find the skills they need while at the same time those who are unemployed will find the jobs that they deserve.
We are mindful and driven by the injunctions our forebearers committed themselves to in 1955 at Kliptown in the Freedom Charter when they said:
- People shall share in the country’s wealth, and
- There shall be jobs and security for all.
The echoes of this are found in our Constitution which guarantees that all human beings are guaranteed dignity. There is no greater dignity than having a job and being able to take care of your family.
The department of labour has made a commitment to “contribute to the creation of decent employment through inclusive economic growth and to respond to the strategic priorities of government through increased focus on:
- Decent work,
- Public Employment Services,
- Enhancing Inspection and Enforcement Services to effectively monitor and enforce compliance with legislation,
- Strengthening Social Security and
- Strengthening the institutional capacity of the department.
For the purposes of today and tomorrow, the top two priorities take precedence: Decent work and Public Employment Services.
We have set in motion various processes to achieve these goals including amending critical areas of legislation like the Labour Relations and Basic Conditions of Employment.
These two bills are now before Parliament. We are also working hard on the Public Employment Services Bill and Employment Equity Amendment Bill (equal work for equal pay) others to further give effect to the work we have started of creating a database that will help employers and potential employees find work without having to pay for the privilege.
The bills are aimed at promoting sound and responsive legislation and policies to attain labour market flexibility for competitiveness of enterprises which is balanced with the promotion of decent employment.
In the formulation of these amendments, we acknowledged that fair and speedy labour justice is indispensable to sound industrial peace and favourable climate for investment.
Our resolve to recognise and give value to social dialogue towards formulating these sound and responsive policies to attain inclusive growth will not be compromised.”
The Job Fair is amongst a range of initiatives being rolled out within the ambit of Public Employment Services as part of the Department of Labour’s contribution to Government Service Delivery Outcomes 4: ‘Decent employment through inclusive economic growth’.
As stated at the first Jobs Fairs in Eastern Cape, the problem of unemployment and joblessness is a serious threat to the stability that was achieved post 1994. This makes it even more urgent for Government to do its utmost to find ways to mitigate this developing disaster.
So our presence here is a testament to that resolve to leave no stone unturned in finding solution to the problem of joblessness.
There is no dignity in being unemployed. Those who are unemployed are not just statistics. They are real people with children to take care of. They have mouths to feed. They have children to raise. They have children to send to school.
One day history will ask of us what is it that we did to give hope to the hopeless.
It would be a pleasure to look back on this day and say: There. We made the contribution. We changed people’s lives.
It would be good to say that we were the generation that gave effect and true meaning to the injunctions of our forebears as espoused in the Freedom Charter.
After all, the African National Congress was elected on that premise. We are keeping and living the promise.
Issued by: Department of Labour
5 Jul 2012
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