During the 1980s, as an ANC and South African Congress of Trade Unions (Sactu) activist in exile in the UK, I joined a huge people’s march for jobs in solidarity with local people who formed the backbone of the anti-apartheid movement. It symbolised a nation united in the common cause of finding find lasting answers to a challenge that was on a smaller scale to the one we now face. Harnessed correctly, SA’s jobs summit and its defined processes have the same potential. Unlike previous summits, the approach taken has been a bottom-up one. We are engaging the conversation from a micro-perspective. But we must resist focusing only on the numbers on the table — we must also factor in that many of the proposals being made at the summit will catalyse growth and change, sparking a multiplier effect with results beyond what the data suggests. The jobs summit is cognisant of the full set of economic challenges we are confronted with, but does not pretend to have all the answers — only some. ...

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