A number of government interventions to stimulate the participation of more South Africans in the economy, particularly young people, are starting to yield results.
According to acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the Presidential Employment Stimulus that was launched in October 2020, to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 created or retained 360 010 jobs by the end of February 2021, mostly for unemployed youth.
“In addition, the employment stimulus has supported the livelihoods of 60,539 beneficiaries through the transfer of support, including production vouchers for subsistence farmers.
“Over 300,000 of these opportunities came from placing young people as assistants in schools across the country, through the Basic Education Employment Initiative. These school assistants have played an important role in strengthening the learning environment at schools during a difficult time,” the minister said on Thursday.
Addressing the media on the outcomes of a Cabinet meeting that was held on Wednesday, Ntshavheni noted a number of monthly reports on the performance of various sectors of the economy that have been released by Statistics SA.
“Although some sectors continue to battle with the recovery, the resilience of the agriculture, manufacturing and mining industries continues to inspire confidence in the recovery of the South African economy.
“Cabinet is pleased that the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is making noticeable impact in South Africa’s recovery,” the minister said.
In addition, Cabinet welcomed the 2021 Annual Front Office Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Omnibus Survey, which ranked South Africa first in the world as a destination for BPO.
The survey extended to over 600 executives from eight key sourcing markets, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (UK) and the USA.
“This affirms the proactive work of government and the sector in building the country’s BPO capacity, with a strong growth in call centres, technical support and back and front office services for major multinational and South African firms.
“The country’s sophisticated digital infrastructure, skilled workforce, knowledge in technology and financial services, and proficiency in English, continue to make it an attractive destination for BPO,” Ntshavheni said.
Cabinet acknowledges the progress made in enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of the Port of Durban, that has resulted in a significant reduction of congestion and improved turnaround times.
“Improving the performance of South Africa’s ports, particularly the Port of Durban, is central to government’s objective of maintaining South Africa’s position amongst the largest and most efficient trading ports and strengthen our position as the gateway for the region and the continent,” Ntshavheni said.
Last week, president Cyril Ramaphosa, visited the port to assess progress with port infrastructure improvement following his meeting with port users and stakeholders in October 2019.
“Cabinet also welcomed the report from an oversight visit to the Saldanha Bay Harbour in the Western Cape by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille – along with Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet and Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Head of Investment and Infrastructure in The Presidency – on Tuesday, 6 April 2021,” the minister said.
The Small Harbours Repairs and Maintenance Programme, which is a Strategic Integrated Project as part of the Infrastructure Investment Plan approved by Cabinet in May 2020, is currently 77% complete.
It has created a total of 611 job opportunities and various local small, medium and micro enterprise businesses have benefited to the value of R55 million. The project is expected to be completed in March 2022.