Remarks by President Jacob Zuma in social dialogue with Business, Labour and the Community sectors on the economy, Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria
12 Oct 2012
Leadership from Government, Business, Labour and the community sector, good evening.
Thank you for attending this important dialogue.
As government we are entrusted with the responsibility leading the country in building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.
We cannot achieve those goals alone. We have to work with our social partners, hence this dialogue this evening. We felt it prudent for us to meet to discuss what we can do together to strengthen our economy, and also to respond to the global economic crisis and its impact on our country.
Our economy, like many others in the global village, is under pressure. Global growth is projected to slow down, in both developed and developing economies.
This has an impact on key export markets for both manufactured goods and mineral output. Unless we take steps, as we did during the 2009 recession, the meltdown will slow the local economy and impact negatively on jobs and worsen the poverty situation in the country.
Our economy has also faced pressure due to the current wage of strikes.
We reiterate our call to business and labour to work together to find solutions, so that we can revert to the primary task at hand, to build the country, build the economy and improve the quality of life.
We have also been seriously concerned about the violent nature of the strikes.
Labour disputes do not need to degenerate into violent confrontations and loss of life as happened tragically in Marikana and in other strikes.
I am sure that all of us share that concern. We also agree that this is not something we want to see in our country, where there are mechanisms in place to deal with industrial disputes, or any other disputes.
We are confident that working together we will be able to find solutions, informed by the Constitution and the values of our democracy.
We have a long history of productive social partnerships in our country.
During the 2008 to 2009 global economic crisis, working together as
government, business, labour and the community sector, we developed a ground-breaking Framework agreement.
It helped to minimise the impact of the recession and assisted to reduce job losses. Today we face a similar challenge. We have to use our collective wisdom to cushion our economy.
We have to find a way to use our strengths and also our programmes such as the massive infrastructure development programme, to infuse life into the economy as we did in 2010, with the Soccer World Cup Build programme.
We have various other packages to boost manufacturing and to support job creation in general. We need the right climate and environment so that these interventions can boost the economy, especially during this difficult period of a global economic recession.
There is a lot that we can do, and we need those ideas today so that we can develop a workable framework. We need a partnership based on clear commitments and actions by each of us. We have begun to do some work on what government can do, and will share that with you this evening.
But we cannot succeed if we rely only on government. We need a joint response. That is why we have assembled this leadership team here today.
Working together, we will be able to redirect ourselves to the task of building the economy, create jobs and fight poverty and inequality.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
12 Oct 2012
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