Labour Summit Speech by Acting Premier

Provincial Overview and Introduction of Keynote Speaker by the Acting Premier of the Northern Cape, Honourable Ms Grizelda Cjiekella on the occasion of the Job Summit, 10 August 2012, Convention Centre


Programme Director
Honourable Ministers, Mrs Mildred Oliphant, and Mr. Gugile Nkwinti
Members of the Executive present
Mayors and Councillors
Leadership of Business and Labour Representatives;
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me extend a warm welcome to all of you to this Labour Summit. It is my genuine understanding that the discussions that will be taking place here at this summit will be critical to the challenge of transforming our economy to make it more equitable, inclusive and labour-absorbing.

In the State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma laid out the broad outline of government’s programme of action, which places the creation of decent work and Infrastructure development as the central priority for government.

The Northern Cape as the largest province in the country and with the smallest population of one million ninety six thousand seven hundred and thirty one (1 096 731) people, is predominantly rural with about 43,6% of the people living in poverty.

According to the community survey in 2007, 10,8% of the population of the Northern Cape had no formal education, while 23,1% had primary education; 49,7% had some secondary education and 3,3% had higher education.

This brief profile of the province clearly states that a lot needs to be done in order to transform the living conditions of the people of the Northern Cape.


Programme Director, the provincial economy continues to be driven by the primary and tertiary sectors at 26,4 and 55,3% respectively.

On the employment front, the Northern Cape unemployment rate is currently 29,9%.

Even though the province currently employs 22,000 more people than the same period last year, the number of economically active people increased considerably by 24 000 extra people, from 422 000 to 446 000.

The 22, 000 jobs are an indication that the province is on track and really working hard to create employment opportunities for our people.

In addition, the province has developed a manufacturing strategy which is aimed at unlocking blockages that exist within this critical sector which currently employs only 10 000 people.

This is one of the sectors which have been identified by both the national and provincial government as key towards the diversification of the economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the recent announcement of the Square Kilometre Array also known as the SKA bid sees our country sharing the project with Australia and New Zealand with the bulk of the project awarded to South Africa and its eight SKA partner countries in Africa

The chosen South African site for the SKA telescope finds itself near Carnavon in the Northern Cape Province.

The project is set to create ample opportunities, both in terms of employment and for businesses in the Province.

It will present direct opportunities for the manufacturing and construction sectors amongst others, and will also expose our young people to new innovative information and technology programmes.

In similar vein, the province welcomes the announcement of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, or (PICC) which has already developed a number of Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs).

Our province indeed stands to benefit immensely from one of the 10 initial projects which aims to develop the Saldanha -Northern Cape linked region in an integrated manner through rail and exports.

It is upon the province to take advantage of this by focusing on other related opportunities emanating from this project.

We all agree that most of these job creation initiatives would indeed require specialized skills.

Accordingly, the province recently launched a Provincial Skills Development Forum consisting of the private sector, SETA’s, government and higher learning institutions.

The forum is tasked with ensuring that the current and future identified skills gaps in the province are addressed as a matter of great urgency.

Furthermore the establishment of a university in the province also presents a welcome opportunity for creation of jobs in the construction sector as well as a vehicle for addressing the current skills shortage that we are faced with.

The job summit had as its apex priority the following targeted outcomes:

Critical assessment of developments in the global economy and the challenges and prospects this represents for local economic development and job creation.
Consolidating a perspective on the job losses nationally and provincially and formulate a broad response with specific strategies.
The adoption of an inter-sectoral approach to job creation by engaging relevant stakeholders to broad-ranging discussion on sector specific measures.
And soliciting information from the private sector in the province on constraints to job creation and partnerships required to accelerate job creation

A number of other key job creation initiatives have been identified as a way of transforming and improving the livelihood of the people of the Northern Cape, however all these require government to work together with Business, Labour and NGO’s.

It is against this background that the province hosted its Provincial Job Summit on the 21 to the 22 June this year.

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me the honour of introducing to you the Keynote Speaker for this important event, namely Mr Gugile Nkwinti, the National Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Minister Nkwinti comes with strong educational and activist credentials.

He holds a diploma in nursing (psychiatry) as well as a Bachelors degree in Political Science, Public Administration and Applied Economics from Unisa.

Minister Nkwinti worked as a professional nurse and a research assistant in the department of psychology at Rhodes University between 1972 and 1984, thereafter moving to work for the UDF in the Eastern Cape from 1984 to 1989.

He went on to also serve as the UDF and ANC regional secretary in the Eastern Cape from 1990 to 1991.

In 1994 Minister Nkwinti became the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, and five years later, in 1999 he was appointed as MEC for Housing, Local Government and Traditional Affairs in the province.

2004 saw him holding on to his position as MEC for housing and Local Government and in 2009 he was appointed as minister of rural development and land reform.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in giving a warm round of applause to Minister Nkwinti who will now deliver the Keynote Address.

I Thank You

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