Local Procurement Dominates Presidential Jobs Meeting

Riyaz Patel

The Presidential Working Committee on Jobs has wrapped up its final meeting for 2019 by highlighting progress on creating a procurement platform which will allow more companies, especially black owned firms, to compete.

The Working Committee (PWC) is composed of leaders of government, labour, business and civil society, and is chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said that while there was value of working as social partners, there is “still some distance from where we want to be.

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“We are not yet seeing the results of new investments or the benefits of policy reforms but the progress we have made is stirring hope. We need now to convert that hope into investment, growth and jobs.

The PWC was established to accelerate implementation of the commitments made at the Jobs Summit held in 2018 to create jobs and stem job losses.

The social partners are collaborating to strengthen support for supplier development and access to markets for small, medium and micro enterprises.

The Presidential Working Committee is further collecting data on company-specific interventions to identify opportunities.

Working together with Proudly South African and the Manufacturing Circle, there is also an ongoing project to identify imported products purchased in large enough volumes to warrant exploration of local production; and to encourage business to review their procurement budgets to increase expenditure from local producers. 

With the Committee tasked with addressing some of the main impediments to job creation, the President commended the steady progress made in this regard.

This includes the piloting of eVisas, the acceleration of the water licensing process, the process towards spectrum allocation and a more pragmatic approach to attracting critical skills to the country.

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The committee also welcomed progress in land reform, noting that a number of private landowners and farmers had voluntarily taken the initiative to address equitable access to land.

The PWC noted that more work still needed to be done to improve and expand the grain and livestock value chains, including expansion of feedlots, as well as growing the poultry industry to position it for the export market. 

Labour called for greater attention to be given to the challenges faced by farm workers including access to support structures in the event of evictions. 

The President expressed satisfaction that momentum is building to address regulatory barriers and welcomed the progress made to date, noting that “greater determination and urgency is required in the implementation of the identified reforms.”

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