Hon Deputy Speaker, let me start off by saying that, it simply is not true, repeat, it simply is not true that some of the outcomes of the summits that we hold do not result in jobs being created. It is not true. I think we need to deal with that. Maybe it is possible that people hardly ever notice what is done in this country, how it is done. Maybe they never see the news that go around. Everybody agrees that unemployment is high and we've got to reduce it.
When I started my input I said, one of the things that is happening here is that, as we create jobs we are finding
that the net effect of it is being diluted by more and younger people who get into the job market. It does not mean that jobs are not being created. Jobs are being created. I give you one or two examples. Last year we held the Investment Summit, R300 billion was committed for investment. Let me give you one simple example, there was an investment commitment by a young man who comes from Uganda who makes cell phones like your smart phones, real beautiful slim line smart phones. When I met him at the investment conference I said to him, I want you to come and invest in South Africa. He said, Mr President, we will come and build a factory in South Africa.
Indeed they have come; they have built a factory and invested hundreds of millions of rand. A week or so ago, I went to open the factory. They have employed 200 young people, 70% of them are women and 94% of them are newly trained young people. That is the job value that you get out of the summit. A number of other companies like Toyota have expanded their own processing and have employed more people. Mercedes Benz made a commitment and they have employed more people. It is a fallacy to say that all these efforts are not yielding anything. It is
not true and I do not think that we should propagate untruths in this Parliament.
What are we doing about restructuring the economy? Hon Deputy Speaker, it is possible that even the laws that are passed here, probably their full impact is not noticed by even the Members of this very Parliament. If a Member of Parliament will say, what is it that you are doing in restructuring the economy and they are not aware themselves of the laws that they pass; then I do not know what we are talking about.
That member should have known that when they amended the Competition Act, that Competition Act was meant to help in restructuring the economy. When that member passed a number of other transformative acts that impact on the economy of our country, they should have known that, that is precisely what we are doing. We are in the process of restructuring this economy. We inherited an apartheid and a colonial economy. We are restructuring it, repositioning it to be a transformed economy.
The economy that we inherited was deformed. It locked out the majority of black people out of the economy. You cannot tell me that since 1994 we have not been making efforts to transform this economy, because if that is the case, then I think somebody has been sleeping through this whole process. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, three months ago South Africa submitted its first voluntary review on the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals to the United Nations.
Now, the aspirations of the sustainable development goals, Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, compliment those of the National Development Plan especially the over arching objective of eradicating poverty and inequality.
The report highlights progress in a number of fields covering things like literacy and child mortality to access to basic services, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The report also notes that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies, not only in the world but on earth. As the unemployment statistics released this week show, we will continue to bear the brunt of the historical distortions of our labour market and our economy for a very long time to come.
Our task is to implement measures that stimulate and grow the economy of our country and create jobs. But, at the same time to address and overcome the root causes of inequality. Now, attracting domestic at international private capital into our economy leads to more job opportunities that can be created.
Over the past 18 months, we've been on a concerted drive to implement policy and regulatory reforms that will make it easier but much more importantly cheaper to do business in South Africa and to undertake other measures to stimulate growth. Next week as I said earlier, we will hold the second investment conference as part of our drive to attract R1,2 trillion over five years.
Last year we were able to raise in commitments to investments and some of those are coming through, we were able to raise R300 billion of investments into our economy. We will be showcasing investment opportunities at this conference in a diverse range of sectors including infrastructure as I say all the time that infrastructure is the fly wheel of economic growth.
We will also be show casing opportunities in our mining sector because we see mining as a sun rise sector in South Africa. The oceans economy beckons the economy in our seas is calling us to come and invest but we will also be showing the opportunities in renewable energy. The whole word is now booming with renewable energy projects. Finance institutions and banks are all rushing to finance some of these projects. We've got the sun, the wind and many other elements that are freely given to us by providence that we must utilise and this gives rise to opportunities that we should utilise to generate growth in our economy.
Now, the commitments made at last year's conference have already translated into projects that have created jobs.
I was citing one earlier, through the jobs summit framework agreement, we have committed resources to support rural and township economies; to stimulate entrepreneurship and encourage innovation.
Funding has been set aside for the establishment of a township and rural entrepreneurship fund that will enable small businesses easy access to markets, financing, business support and other services. Now, this is part of Minister Nchabeni's plans to ensure that the small business sector becomes revitalised.
We are revitalising industrial parks around the country and expanding the special economic zones. Among the industrial parks that have been prioritized include Botshabelo, Phuthaditjhaba, Garankuwa, Isithebe, Komani, and Seshego. Those are some of the projects that we are focusing on. Dimbaza is one other area and we are now injecting more revitalisation in those.
Land and agrarian reform and are key to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Access to land enables our people to farm for themselves and to do so commercially.
And, to have a place to live and have an asset as I was saying earlier that can be used as collateral for business and other loans. We are implementing a range of measures to support commercial, small scale as well as subsistence farmers.
This is essential to fighting poverty in rural households. If we are to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, we must also address youth unemployment as I was saying. We have set up a project management office in the Presidency, to develop an integrated comprehensive employment strategy. This office will coordinate various other initiatives that I've already spoken about to address youth unemployment both within and beyond government and make all these initiatives work together in an integrated manner
Now, the expanded works program has been a major source of economic opportunities for many of our people and especially young people and women in the process of imparting the job skills that are so needed and re- training.
We also have to reform our education system to make it much more responsive to the requirements of the economy. This includes the work to introduce technical subjects in more of our schools and the conversion of traditional high schools into technical high schools.
Now, this is I saw for myself just last week in the Free State, where we were exposed to young people who are being offered technical subjects at schools. At grade 9, 11 and 12 they are now beginning to become boiler makers, they are learning boiler making which is now going to enhance their own capabilities. This for me was the greatest joy to interact with young people as you ask them what do you want to be when you grow up, and to hear them not say I want to do Human Resource, HR, I want to do just a Bachelor of Arts, BA, they are now saying I want to become a boiler maker, welder, aero space, an engineer or a pilot. This is now unleashing the mental energy of our young people who are now looking at great opportunities that are now being ignited by the technical education that they are getting at grade 9, 10 and 11.
So, this we must be grateful for because this represents a silent revolution that is spreading amongst the various educational facilities or schools that we have at that young age. They no longer have to wait to pass matric to go into college and universities to learn about boiler making. They are now learning it as they go on and it will be crowned by the artisan training that they will get once they go to artisan school.
Now, to overcome the unemployment crisis, to end poverty and reduce inequality requires a concerted effort by all of us, all social partners including government, labour, business, civil society as well as this Parliament. So, we all have our job cut out for us and I hope that we will take this up very seriously and commit to what we need to do in a way of our debates, the suggestions that we make, the laws that we pass and interventions that we make on an ongoing basis. All hands must be on deck to address the job challenge that our country faces. Thank you hon Deputy Speaker.
MR M GUNGUBELE: Mr President, one must appreciate the fact that they've gone a long way to articulate and
account to this country on your activities taking this country forward but however, you've articulated what appears to be good work in progress, taking into account that the SDGs are globally dictated kind of imperatives point of human development and there are also dependents that are outside this country within the environment where South Africa is trading.
It would be useful to hear the president sharing with the country with regard to what will be the significant role of SADC and probably the point where 2063 vision of the continent that will actually send a message that we are aware of the dependencies and the sustainability of these goals once they take off from within the country?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Deputy Speaker, I
think one most wonderful thing about the Sustainable Development Goals is that they are a mirror, a mirror against which every country needs to look at itself. But to go even beyond just seeing that as a mirror there's a call to action, a call to address the needs of the people of our country and these are universal needs.
The goals that are set out in the SDGs are so over arching and transversal and they affect the lives of people all over the world. We have appropriated them in SADC and Agenda 2063 of the African Union has also appropriated those and when you look at Agenda 2063, it is a real sort of a mirror image of what the SDGs are about.
We must see them as a real call to action and for us they are a guide but more than that they are also an evaluation mechanism to evaluate ourselves in terms of what we are doing to address the needs of ordinary people.
This is what we have to do and it is good that they have put out. It is almost like the universal declaration of human rights which even in liberation movements looked at fared from to inform how the struggle should be prosecuted. For us, the freedom chatter was that mirror and call to arms and to action that we also utilise. So, along the way have been very fortunate to have all these instruments and now in our cases it's also the National Development Plan, NDP, that is a call to action in terms
of what we need to do but the SDGs which we voluntarily decided as a country that we are going to report on. Reporting on them also showed up where we may be weak, where we may have short comings but we had the strength of courage to say we must report because it is the country reporting to the world but more importantly reporting to its own citizens about the progress or lack thereof that we are making.
In a number of areas we are making tremendous progress. But, it is when we see ourselves against the back drop of what other countries are doing that we are then able to quicken our step as we see how other countries are implementing the SDGs so that we are not left behind because those SDGs are meant to leave no one behind and this what we have committed ourselves to ensure that our people as a whole do indeed have an improved life as we implement these SDGs. Thank you very much Deputy Speaker.
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr President, I'm very glad that you mentioned land and agrarian reform as one of the measures to meet these challenges because we believe that South Africans must own land in their own right and that
includes agricultural land. But, while you're busy with the populist hearing of the constitutional amendment, there's plenty that your government could be doing immediately without recklessly attacking property rights.
You could start by reversing the land reform program that you introduced in 2011 called Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy, PLAS. Under the previous called Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development, LRAD, lease agreements with the state had an automatic built in offer to purchase after five years. But, since 2011 this has been removed and that's why a black emerging farmer like David Rakgase had to take you to court with the help of the DA to compel you to sell his own land to him.
So, Mr President, here's a suggestion for you today, if you are serious about land reform and about freeing black farmers from the permanent sifter that they under, isn't time that you put a tiger in your tank and committed to reversing this unjust policy and give them chance to own and buy the state owned land?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Steenhuisen, I'll be very clear and direct with you and fair and say yes, a variety of interventions we should make on land reform should include precisely the point you are making. Thank you very much.
Question 12 (Cont):