Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has encouraged the country’s youth to take advantage of the job creation potential presented by tourism and cultural products.
Talking at World Tourism Day celebrations organised at the Basotho Cultural Village just outside Qwaqwa in the Free State, Van Schalkwyk said that the government was willing to support the youth by equipping all of them with business skills geared towards the tourism industry.
Free State MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mxolisi Dukwana stated that the provincial government was doing everything in its power to boost culture and tourism.
Echoing precisely the same feelings as the minister, he explained that young adults are advised to become involved in tourism. He said that it is a valid reason for the youth to promote and preserve their cultures, as they are a crucial attraction factor for tourists to South Africa.
“Our culture is what defines us as a nation and as a country.”
World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on 27 September. Its purpose is to create awareness among the international community of the incredible importance of tourism along with its social, cultural, political and economic value.
The 2011 theme, Tourism: Linking Cultures, is a celebration of tourism’s role in linking together the cultures all over the world by way of travel.
The event attempts to address global challenges outlined in the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to emphasize the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.
World Tourism Day 2011 will also highlight the importance of preserving and promoting the cultures of the world in all their forms.
Free State resident Madibakeso Tshabalala, who arrived at the event clad in Basotho traditional attire, said she was proud of her culture and wanted young people to follow in her footsteps. “Our kids must know about our culture and be proud of it.”
Van Schalkwyk said in 2010, 29.7 million domestic trips were taken, compared with 30.3 million taken in 2009.
He said the first quarter of 2011 showed a positive growth of 7.5% in domestic trips. South Africa prides itself on its heritage sites, which appeals to a large number of foreign tourists.
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Government has generated thousands of jobs ever since the New Growth Path (NGP) was implemented by Cabinet in October last year, statistics published on Tuesday by the Minister of Economic Development reveal.
In reply to a parliamentary question on the progress of the NGP from a member of the ruling party and another from a member of the opposition, Patel outlined a number of interventions which in fact had already yielded thousands of jobs, including:
* Nearly 60 000 jobs created by the Department of Trade and Industry’s support and incentive programmes in the last financial year.
* The help and support of well over 100 000 smallholder farmers by the national and provincial agricultural departments.
* Environmental employment schemes, such as the Department of Water Affairs’ Working for Water and the Working for Land programme, which would provide over 30 000 full-time job equivalents this year, increasing to 60 000 the coming year.
* A rural youth employment programme, which has created 7 500 jobs.
Patel pointed out that the government planned to boost the number of work opportunities in the Community Works Programme to one million by 2014, of which up to 90% could possibly be reserved for young adults.
The programme offers longer-term employment to young adults than is the case in the traditional Expanded Public Works Programme, he stated.
He explained government was rolling out a number of other projects to create more work opportunities.
These were showcased at the recent Cabinet lekgotla, where 12 action plans were adopted to make sure that government prioritises measures to expand public and private sector investment.
The action plans contain measures in agriculture and agro-processing, mining industry, manufacturing and the green economy. One particular measure is the announcement of a number of large agro-processing projects for instance a seed-crushing plant in Mpumalanga, which will create up to 4 000 jobs, as well as a chicken farming project in the Free State, which would most likely employ about 800 people.
Also included is the government’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, which at the moment is being implemented at 65 sites.
In the mining sector, Cabinet had adopted the benefication strategy in June; had endorsed the setting up of the state-owned mining company and had identified strategies for lowering iron and steel prices. A pre-feasibility study for the setting up of a new steel mill had also been completed.
Government had at the same time launched a major effort to further improve African regional integration, with the launch of the negotiations in June for a Free Trade Area involving 26 countries with 600 million people, stretching from Cape Town to Cairo.
Patel pointed out the size of the total labour force – the total number of employed and unemployed persons – increased substantially in the first two quarters of this year, by about 200 000 persons each quarter, after dropping in every quarter of last year.
Having said that, the pace of job growth has slowed down in the recent quarter and jobs were lost in manufacturing, mining and agriculture in the second quarter, compared with the first three months of the year.
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has authorized funding of R8.4 billion in the last financial year, which will undoubtedly significantly help when it comes to job creation.
“This stands out as the largest amount ever for South African-based investments. Funding approvals in the past year under review are envisioned to generate 19 650 full time jobs in addition to preserving a further 11 650, which has a combined influence on employment of 31 300, up from 25 000 in 2010.
“An additional 8 100 job opportunities are likely to be created as a result of direct linkages to actions in the informal economy,” proclaimed the IDC in its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2011.
The IDC posted a R2.7 billion profit as a consequence of enhanced profitability from operations, performance of equity accounted investments, containment of operating expenses and lower impairments.
The South African economy recovered gradually from the latest recession, considering the pace of growth increasing in momentum towards the latter part of 2010 and firming in the initial quarter of 2011.
“We have maintained our focus both on sustaining and expanding high impact manufacturing capacity and also have been successful in enhancing our influence on job creation,” IDC CEO, Geoffrey Qhena, stated.
From the overall magnitude of funding approvals, 97 percent happen to be within the priority sectors determined in the New Growth Path (NGP), which includes manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture and the mining value chain; 49 percent of funding approvals was allocated to developments in provinces other than Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to guarantee provincial fairness.
“The IDC will continue to leverage its portfolio to boost development outcomes. This approach consists of establishing ring-fenced programmes to subsidise industry development, much like the R10-billion Gro-e-Scheme with concessionary terms and conditions geared towards job creation, that has been launched in February 2011,” explained Qhena.
The corporation in addition has authorized R4.1 billion of the R6 billion allotted to support companies in distress. Over 17 000 job opportunities were generated and preserved as a consequence of the R2 billion UIF scheme unveiled in May this past year, R1.5 billion of which has already been authorized.
“IDC is going to make available R102 billion over the upcoming five years for investment. To accomplish this degree of investment, the collaboration of a variety of stakeholders and social partners is vital. These comprise of businesses, co-funders, labour, government and civil society,” said Qhena.
In his budged vote in April, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel pointed out that over the next five years, green industries is going to be allocated R22.4 billion, while mining and beneficiation is going to be allocated R22.1 billion. Manufacturing will get R20.8 billion while the agriculture value chain will receive R7.7 billion.
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State owned freight group Transnet projects that it is going to generate in excess of 5 000 jobs over the next five years. At this time, the company employs 55 519 people, and forecasts the fact that the number will expand to 61 520 by 2016.
Transnet says this predicted increase could very well be directly credited to government’s New Growth Path. Between April and May, the organization made almost 800 appointments within the Operating Divisions.
This was disclosed when a high-level Transnet delegation, headed by its chief executive Brian Molefe, made a presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Enterprise.
Molefe stated that they planned to create a total in excess of 200 000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2016. He explained their projects, which are conservative, have been based on a highly technical model developed by a team at the University of Stellenbosch.
Technical and functional knowledge and skills accounted for 76 percent of all the training at Transnet’s six technical schools, he explained.
At their port terminals school, Molefe mentioned that they intended to teach 4 205 learners over the next five years, while 2 637 other individuals are going to be properly trained at ports. At their rail schools, he was quoted saying that they intended to teach approximately 7 000 students by 2016 in addition to training over 7 500 when it comes to rail engineering.
Molefe mentioned they required R424 million, which would be dispersed per Operation Division to be able to upgrade and improve their training facilities coupled with increasing trainee uptake. In that respect, Ports Terminals would require R50 million, Ports R38 million and rail engineering R139 million.
Molefe added they are currently taking 500 apprentices a year and expected to increase that to 1 000 the coming year. In step with government policy of employment equity, he said that as of May, 76.4 percent of their employees were black and of that figure, 20.7 percent were women.
Molefe suggested that the organisation found it necessary to employ more people with disabilities, which currently stands at 0.8 percent to 1.3 percent. The committee praised the presentation, adding that they had the confidence the organization was in the right hands.
Transnet was also congratulated for a healthy balance sheet after posting a rise in profits of 9.4 percent to R15.8 billion in its financial year ending March 31.
For more information and job opportunities, contact Transnet directly – click here
The National Treasury’s R9 billion Jobs Fund, which endeavors to generate 150 000 job opportunities over three years, is currently accepting applications from companies and non-governmental organisations with innovative job creation projects, stated the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan revealed to a media briefing before his Budget Vote in Parliament that the aim was to provide R2 billion in grants this financial year to those in the private sector.
These would either be in the form of matching grants, or grants where companies and organisations had dedicated a percentage of funding to the respective project.
Gordhan initially announced the master plan to establish the Jobs Fund in his Budget Speech in February.
Gordhan stated his department decided to go with the DBSA to administer the fund as a result of the development bank’s footprint – which provides coverage for over 200 municipalities throughout the country along with its experience with funding community development projects.
The fund is geared towards established companies with an above average reputation and that also intend to broaden existing programmes or pilot innovative solutions to employment creation, with a unique focus on opportunities for young adults.
The precise focus is not in particular on small or micro businesses, given that the government provides other programmes that can assist entrepreneurs, including the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) for business support, Khula, Samaf, the NEF and the IDC for small business funding and the Technology Innovation Agency (Tia) for innovation funding.
Gordhan explained that the fund would concentrate on four areas, namely: enterprise development, local infrastructure development, support for work seekers and institutional capacity building.
Enterprise development includes assistance to local procurement, marketing support, equipment upgrading or enterprise franchising.
Local infrastructure development incorporated the funding of light manufacturing zones and communication links to market goods, he explained.
Support for work seekers would include establishing networks and projects that are able to provide training and career guidance, at the same time making improvements to institutional capacity would include funding internships and mentorship programmes.
The National Treasury is going to continue to monitor and assess the overall performance and sustainability of projects funded via the initiative and all projects are required to be run for at least three to five years.
Gordhan mentioned the level of urgency surrounding the country’s high level of unemployment necessitated that the country required a fresh energy and infusion in the job creation process.
He explained the fund is not going to compete with other government projects, but instead complement them.
“One hopes that this will encourage completely new forms of innovation, new forms of creativity and open new areas of job creation possibilities,” he said.
The DBSA’s investment committee will be chaired by Frans Baleni, current deputy-chairperson of the development bank and secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Baleni announced that job applications would be welcomed from today and investment would most likely target poor and rural regions.
The success of the jobs fund relied on strong co-operation between the private sector and the government, he was quoted saying.
Baleni explained the team had received directives to process application timeously. The technical team, which processes applications, would meet weekly and the investment team, which makes the final selection, would meet monthly.
“We are required to submit bi-monthly reports to the shareholder (the National Treasury), which means that there would be no time to relax,” he stated.
Brian Whittaker, chief executive of the Business Trust, who has been selected as the fund’s vice-chair, said the fund will be a bold new initiative that is going to release a degree of creativity on tackling unemployment
“There’s an opportunity here to do something innovative and that’s what excites me,” said Whitackker.
Paul Kibuuka, who heads the DBSA’s development fund, said the fund aimed to generate 150 000 jobs over three years, adding that each job funded will need to last for at least one year.
He said the fund aimed to target somewhere between 1 000 and 2 000 projects.
The closing date for the first round of applications is July 31 and a large portion of applications will be processed electronically.
Those interested, as well as applicants, can contact the Jobs Fund on 086 100 3272