Johannesburg - Recent unresolved labour disputes should be resolved quickly so that the South African economy can return to normal, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.
“We urge those sectors with disputes that have not yet been resolved to attend to them speedily so that the economy can return to full production,” Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery at an SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) gala dinner in Midrand.
Zuma said South Africa had a progressive labour relations framework enshrined in both the Constitution and labour laws.
“Our message to employers and labour is that with the advantage of such a legal framework, they should conclude labour negotiations and disputes speedily.”
He said government had intervened in the mining sector over the past nine months to help stabilise it.
“We have worked closely with business and labour to ensure a more rapid and peaceful resolution of labour disputes, while at the same time improving the operational and policy environment in the sector,” he said.
“We appreciate the co-operation of business and labour in the mining intervention programme.”
He said South Africa was changing for the better. However several issues, such as unemployment, still remained.
“You will recall that we announced in the... state-of-the-nation address the plans to invest in youth employment and employment generally through employment incentives,” Zuma said.
“We have published a Draft Employment Tax Incentive Bill which is aimed at encouraging employers to give opportunities to workers of all ages in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as well as young first-time job seekers outside the SEZs.
“We hope that the bill will generate a lot of constructive debate aimed at finding solutions,” said Zuma. - Sapa