Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

The country’s social partners are engaged in discussions over job creation and retention in the lead-up to the much-anticipated national jobs summit.

Business, the government, organised labour and community constituencies at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) have established five working committees to tackle, among other issues, inclusive growth, economic-specific interventions and education and skills.

In February, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the summit would be held in 2018 following labour’s requests for a platform where the country’s response to the unemployment crisis and mass retrenchments would be addressed.

So far, the government’s approach to the problem has been staggered, with different departments admitting the challenges were being tackled but with no co-ordinated strategy.

Nedlac spokeswoman Tidimalo Chuene told Business Day that a date had yet to be set but work had begun in earnest.

Nedlac said that an April meeting with Ramaphosa suggested the summit should be held by the end of September.

At a recent colloquium, Nedlac invited experts, researchers and other practitioners to present proposals for projects, programmes and policies to transform the economy and accelerate job creation.

Chuene said the gathering was meant to enrich preparations for the summit.

"The aim of this colloquium was to review ideas and experiences around job-creating projects, programmes and policies in a broad and open fashion. It was intended to assist participants both to learn about innovative approaches and to probe ideas and evidence," she said.

Labour federation Fedusa’s general secretary, Dennis George, said the labour constituency was considering how to accommodate the views of other civil society organisations, including the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu).

Saftu has accused the labour constituency at the institution of trying to exclude it from taking part in the labour market policy space by not approving its application to belong to Nedlac.

Saftu held its own workers’ summit on July 21 and 22, where solutions to joblessness and poverty were discussed.