‘Some crises can’t be wished away, we must be prepared’ - Mashatile encourages partnerships at Nedlac Summit

The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) hosted its 28th Annual National Summit where Deputy President Paul Mashatile was the keynote speaker. Photo:Supplied

The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) hosted its 28th Annual National Summit where Deputy President Paul Mashatile was the keynote speaker. Photo:Supplied

Published Sep 8, 2023


Deputy President Paul Mashatile has called on government and social partners to focus on preparing for a multitude of crises and building resilience as “some terrible aspects of our country cannot be wished away”.

Some of these crises include the health crises, natural disasters, deteriorating infrastructure, climate change and rising levels of disruptive crime and vandalism.

Mashatile addressed the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) 28th Annual National Summit at Gallagher Estate in Midrand on Friday.

The Summit provided an opportunity for a larger delegation of Nedlac social partners from organised business, community, government, and organised labour, as well as other stakeholders, to receive and consider a report on the activities of the institution.

But, the focus of this year’s Summit was on how social partners and government could work together in the event of crisis-type situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change impacts.

Mashatile said that he believed through collective efforts, united in purpose and driven by shared values, everyone held the power to influence and determine the trajectory and direction of the country.

While Mashatile said the current conditions of the labour force was characterised by racial and gender inequities, skills shortages and high unemployment rates, he said Covid-19 further intensified the economic setbacks.

He spoke to four dimensions of social partnerships, namely the “what”, “how”, “who”, and “why”.


Nedlac has historically sought to partner about the big policy choices facing the country, however, with the high unemployment rate in South Africa, Mashatile said we must summon enough bravery to openly discuss the matter to prevent the ticking time bomb of poverty, inequality and joblessness from going off.

Optimistically, Mashatile said this was not impossible to achieve, as he referenced the partnership with Business for South Africa and government, with the private sector offering its assistance.


Mashatile said there was not a finite list of stakeholders that exists, but the signatories on master plans on the sugar, agriculture, clothing, retail and renewable energy sector should obtain the mandate from the constituents and have the capacity to fulfil their commitments.

“When this does not happen, social compacts amount to nothing but talk shops, and this is something we must, at all costs, avoid,” he said.


Referencing the recent National Dialogue on Coalitions, Mashatile said that a coalition agreement was not dissimilar to a social compacting agreement where there needs to be a give and take, and roles and responsibilities were defined and agreed to.

He called on Nedlac to take on the responsibility to demonstrate to the nation that there could be win-win situations.


“It will only be through partnerships that we can ensure that everyone is supported to transition to new employment or better livelihoods and provided with the necessary social support mechanisms,” Mashatile said.

“If not, those that are negatively affected now, will resist this transition, to the detriment of future generations,” he said.