PRETORIA – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said his government was determined to eliminate the capture of the State and its organs through corruption which he said was one of the greatest barriers to investment and job creation in South Africa.
"One of the greatest barriers to investment, growth and job creation is corruption within all spheres of government, state owned enterprises and companies. We are determined as government to intensify the work we have already started to end state capture and root out corruption wherever it occurs and to bring those responsible to book," Ramaphosa said while addressing a high-level jobs summit in Midrand.
"The social partners [incorporating business and organised labour] have agreed to support the government’s anti-corruption strategy and to develop their own complementary strategies. Business has committed to implementing a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and will develop several initiatives to develop training to combat corruption."
He said the social partners have agreed on the need to introduce financial disclosure for all relevant government employees and the conduct of lifestyle audits.
"Through this jobs summit, government, labour, business and the community sector have agreed on concrete interventions to boost employment. We estimate that these interventions will create an additional 275,000 direct jobs a year," said Ramaphosa.
"This is over and above the jobs that would have been created without these interventions, which was on average about 300,000 a year over the past four years. The jobs summit agreement complements other initiatives to create jobs. In addition to what has been agreed between the social partners under the auspices of Nedlac, several companies are working – either individually or with others in their sector – on plans to expand and create new jobs."
Ramaphosa said these companies have taken the initiative themselves, understanding that sustainable employment creation is beneficial to their business, to the communities in which they are located, and to broader society.
"They understand that job creation is part of a virtuous cycle. Greater employment increases demand for goods and services, enabling established companies to expand and new ones to emerge, thereby creating more job opportunities and greater demand," said Ramaphosa.
He said the framework agreement that will emerge from the Midrand summit will provide significant additional impetus to the implementation of the economic stimulus and recovery plan which government announced two weeks ago.
"The plan includes a range of immediate measures to restore the economy to growth, improve investor confidence and establish a platform for greater job creation," said Ramaphosa.
As part of the plan, Ramaphosa said government will:
- implement growth enhancing economic reforms,
- reprioritise public spending to support job creation,
- establish an Infrastructure Fund,
- address urgent needs in education and health,
- invest in municipal social infrastructure improvement.
The president said South Africa's experience is that infrastructure development draws many unemployed people into economic activity relatively quickly.
"The Infrastructure Fund we are establishing, which will be supported by a strong technical team in the Presidency, will ensure that infrastructure projects are implemented faster, with less wastage and have a greater impact on employment creation and localisation," he said.
"Government’s contribution to the Infrastructure Fund will be in excess of R400 billion over the next three years, which we will use to leverage additional resources from developmental finance institutions, multilateral development banks, and private lenders and investors."
Through specific economic reforms, Ramaphosa said government will unlock opportunities in sectors of the economy that have great potential for growth. These sectors include mining, oil and gas, tourism and telecommunications.