Pretoria Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says despite the great difficulties the country faces, there is hope for development and progress.
Even as we struggle with a low growth rate and even as we come to terms with the causes and practical impact of recent ratings downgrades, we should not lose sight of that fact that work is being undertaken across the economy to boost investment, expand our productive capacity, improve our skills levels and develop our economic infrastructure, he said.
Addressing the Black Business Council in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Deputy President Ramaphosa said there is a growing acceptance among all social partners that it is only through collaboration that South Africa will achieve sustainable growth that increases employment and improves livelihoods.
The partnership between government, labour and the country's leading CEOs arises from a recognition that we need to mobilise the skills, capabilities, energy and importantly, resources of all sectors of society.
It arises from a recognition that we need not only to agree on a common programme for growth and employment, but that we need to undertake concrete actions to achieve rapid, meaningful results, Deputy President Ramaphosa said.
He said the agreement that was reached between social partners on the national minimum wage and labour stability, in which the Black Business Council played a critical role, signalled the determination of the social partners to work together to address even the most difficult challenges in society.
From these initiatives, and from several others, we see emerging seeds of a social compact for inclusive growth. We all have a responsibility, wherever we may be located, to ensure that we do not squander this opportunity
Deputy President Ramaphosa said for more than two decades, South Africans from all walks of life have been working to build a united, equal and caring society from the ruins of racial oppression.
But each day as we walk our streets, drive in our cities or visit the rural hinterland, we realise that our long walk to freedom is far from over. For as long as poverty remains endemic, for as long as large swathes of our youth remain unemployed, and for as long as levels of inequality remain among the highest in the world, our people will not be free. More than two decades into democracy, the face of poverty remains black and, in particular, African.
Deputy President Ramaphosa said many people still experience social marginalisation and economic exclusion.
To fail them would be a betrayal of their confidence and a dereliction of our responsibility towards the Constitution. The call for radical economic transformation seeks to address these fundamental issues.
He said radical economic transformation requires the country to leverage its massive infrastructure investment more strategically and more deliberately to build local manufacturing capacity.
Government continues to provide support to black industrialists through research and innovation for commercialisation of new technologies, quality standards and productivity support.
So far, more than 27 black industrialists have been supported in areas such as agro-processing, plastic and pharmaceuticals, electro technical equipment and metals sectors. As a result, more jobs were created across the sectors.
Source: South African Government News Agency