Allow me a brief comment on the letter from Charles Cadman (“Get tips from Mauritius”) Business Day November 22.
When Jacob Zuma was Minister of Economic Affairs in the government of KwaZulu-Natal, a prominent businessman in the province approached me to ask Minister Zuma to accept the invitation for an all-expenses paid trip to Mauritius to study the working of export processing zones in the country. These had resulted in the country solving its huge unemployment problem, to such a degree that it had to import labour from outside the country to satisfy the demand for labour in the zones.
The reason for the success was that no labour laws prevailed in these zones, provided that everything manufactured in them could only be exported. Clothing was the major export, mainly to the United States.
I pointed out to Mr Zuma that South Africa, particularly KwaZulu-Natal, was ideally situated to follow the example of Mauritius, because we had extensive industrial estates such as iSithebe created in terms of the then homelands policy. Mr Zuma was very excited about the idea, until he consulted the ANC’s ally, Cosatu. That killed the whole idea and the trip never took place.
This strategy could help solve our country’s huge unemployment problem, a ticking time bomb that might yet explode in violence.