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Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

In his attack on antidumping duties Paul Matthew does not once mention the most important subject in SA today — job creation (“Poultry tariffs hide failings”, January 25).

If SA is to have a future, job creation must be top of mind for every government department, policymaker and employer. Nothing else matters because unless we create millions of jobs over the next few years the grandest policy proposals will come to nought.

We cannot have a stable country if we have the world’s highest unemployment rate, including nearly 10-million jobless young people aged 15 to 24. The riots last July showed how mounting unemployment is a tinder box, ready for an accidental or malicious spark.

That is why FairPlay has consistently focused on jobs — both job creation and preventing job losses. That is why we have campaigned against dumped and predatory imports, which have cost thousands of SA jobs and hindered the creation of new ones.

Local producers are highly efficient, contrary to importers’ worn-out claims. SA consistently ranks in the top five or six most efficient poultry producers, ahead of all EU countries.

It is also why we support the poultry master plan, which Matthew signed but seems to think is all about exports. Did he read before signing? It’s actually about jobs — nearly 5,000 jobs resulting from curbing dumped imports and expanding SA chicken production for the local and export markets.

SA producers have already invested R1bn to create 1,300 new jobs. Where is the importers’ contribution? Matthew simply seeks to protect decades of dumped and predatory imports.

Matthew represents SA’s meat importers and exporters. Instead of repeating his tired old import dogma, he should join efforts to spur growth, exports and local jobs.

Francois Baird
Founder, FairPlay

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