Picture: ANC/Twitter

Durban – The African National Congress believes that mass youth apprenticeships will help bridge South Africa’s vast skills gap, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.

The governing party made a call for mass apprenticeships in its 2019 election manifesto, which was launched on Saturday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban when Ramaphosa delivered the ANC's 107th anniversary January 8 statement before a capacity crowd.

Much of Ramaphosa’s speech, and the manifesto, centred on ways to kick-start South Africa’s stagnant economy and reduce the high rate of youth unemployment, with economic transformation being pivotal.

According to the manifesto, “Too many people are unemployed, particularly among the youth, and too many jobs are lowly paid and insecure. Our plan for more jobs and decent jobs takes forward the outcomes of the presidential jobs summit aimed at protecting and creating decent jobs with a focus on addressing youth unemployment.

“The public and private sector must take concrete steps to bridge the gap between skills and the labour market, including the implementation of mass apprenticeship opportunities for young men and women.”

The manifesto also calls for broadening ownership through the country’s mixed economy “with a focus on extending worker ownership across the sectors of the economy”.

The manifesto also speaks to a sustainable land reform programme that expands participation in and ownership of agricultural production, advances food security, and helps reverse the apartheid spatial separation of cities and towns. “This will be done through a range of measures, including expropriation without compensation.”

Also featuring in Ramaphosa’s speech and the manifesto, and mentioned numerous times by the president throughout the week while he was campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal, was dealing with “monopolies”.

“We will address monopolies, excessive economic concentration, abuse of dominance by large corporations and the growth-inhibiting structure of the economy by de-concentrating and transforming the economy and opening it up to participation by small and medium enterprises, emerging co-operatives,  and township and village enterprises.”

The ANC was also looking to substantially increase public infrastructure by building roads, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation infrastructure, transport networks, ICT systems, and energy generation and distribution capacity.

“Our industrial strategy will accelerate industrialisation by supporting enterprises, including black industrialists, to save and create decent jobs in the core industries of manufacturing, agro-processing, mining and beneficiation, and tourism. Industrial policy support will include sectors of the future, such as renewable energy.”

The private sector and organised labour would also be encouraged to drive industrialisation in South Africa and Africa, and South Africa would be positioned to be the centre of digital transformation in Africa, according to the manifesto. 

African News Agency (ANA)