Apr 16, 2008
Zuma says foreign skills welcome in South AfricaBack
© Reuse this Ruling party African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday that, as well as training up its own citizens, South Africa should welcome foreign skilled workers to its shores, as this would actually help create work opportunities, rather than snatching up local jobs.
However, in a speech delivered to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of South Africa, Zuma stressed that the country needed to invest in skills development if the economy was to remain competitive.
"That is why the ANC will prioritise skills and education development over the next five years," he said, adding that this should not only be a government imperative, but that employers ought to "play a leading role in this effort".
About one-fifth of citizens in the country were unemployed, which accentuated the urgent need to close the gaping skills gap in the South Africa in the push to boost job rates.
"Employers need to strengthen their mentorship programmes and provide more learnership opportunities," said Zuma. "We must clearly improve our performance in maths, science and technology."
ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa highlighted this point on Tuesday, saying that 80% of maths teachers in South Africa came from Zimbabwe.
Other areas that Zuma said needed attention included knowledge production, innovation and research, as well as entrepreneurial, business and financial skills.
NEXT STOP: SYDNEY
Compounding the skills conundrum was the steady stream of brains getting on airplanes not to return. Zuma conceded that this could not be stopped, but stressed that it should not put the country off training.
"We must also accept the fact that being a free country, our skilled young people will inevitably seek greener pastures abroad in other countries and we cannot stop them," he stated.
"That should not deter us from the responsibility of training more and more people each year to build our skills base."
Chamber of Mines president and JSE-listed mining company Exxaro CEO Sipho Nkosi last month declared the skills issue “a national crisis”.
“We pay people, we develop them and they go. This is real. It’s facing us as a country and we need to deal with it,” Nkosi said on April 11.
Emigration agencies have been quoted saying that there has been an accelerated flight of workers from South Africa this year, after the power crisis struck in January, combined with worries over economic instability following the change of the ANC's leadership at the Polokwane conference, in December 2007.
Meanwhile, Zuma said that the ANC saw value in reviving the role of State-owned enterprises in skills development and training.
"We must build partnerships between the State, parastatals, the unions and the private sector in the quest to improve skills," he stated.
Construction and engineering firm Group Five said only last week that it had approval for 1 500 work permits to bring skilled foreign nationals into South Africa.
Other big industry names that had cast their eyes beyond our borders to source skills included JSE-listed petroleum and petrochemicals giant Sasol, and cement group Lafarge.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Updated 1 hour 11 minutes ago With Africa holding 60% of the world’s arable land, agriculture held one of the keys to unlocking economic opportunities for the continent, but could only be achieved through cooperation with other countries in regions such as Asia. Speaking at the Asia–Africa...
Updated 1 hour 48 minutes ago Business process outsourcing (BPO) industry association Business Process enabling South Africa (BPeSA) has appointed Tebogo Molapisane as its new CEO, following the relaunch of the national organisation. Molapisane has been involved in the contact centre industry for...
Updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago JSE-listed Consolidated Infrastructure Group (CIG) on Tuesday reported a 26% year-on-year increase in revenue to R1.7-billion for the six months ended February 28, while its aftertax profit grew by 36% year-on-year to R164-million. The higher profit was driven...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...