Apr 16, 2008
Zuma says foreign skills welcome in South AfricaBack
Construction|Engineering|SYDNEY|Africa|Cement|Education|Exxaro|Lafarge|Petrochemicals|Africa|South Africa|Zimbabwe|Mining|Petrochemicals|African National Congress (ANC)|Jacob Zuma|Mathews Phosa|Power|Sipho Nkosi|Zuma
© 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
Updated 3 hours ago South African engineering union Numsa has agreed to end a four-week strike after accepting a wage increase offer from employers, union leader Irvin Jim said on Monday. Numsa, South Africa's largest union, has accepted a 10% annual pay rise fixed for three years for...
Updated 3 hours ago Trade union Solidarity on Monday accepted the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa’s (Seifsa’s) revised wage offer. The three-year wage agreement, settled within the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), comprised...
Updated 4 hours ago South Africa will use the upcoming US-Africa Leaders' Summit, which will also encompass the 2014 edition of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) Forum, to appeal for a 15-year extension of the nonreciprocal trade arrangement, as well as South Africa’s...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...