10/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/13/2020 07:37
Ministerial Briefing on Employment and Labour - Virtual Sitting of the National Council of Provinces
The Chairperson of the NCOP
Minister of Labour and Employment Thulasi Nxesi
I wish to start by thanking the Minister of Labour and Employment Thulasi Nxesi for the comprehensive presentation.
Importantly, I wish to inform the minister that officials from the Department of Labour and Employment in KZN have been very helpful.
We work together at all times to deal with challenges created by COVID-19 across the province.
Since March, we have together dealt with complaints we have received from workers and also conducted inspections across all corners of the province.
One Stop Shop - Small Players and Big Industries
Honourable Members, I wish to quickly reflects on our plans in dealing with challenges posed by COVID-19
The province set up a one stop shop at TIKZN to provide assistance to provincial businesses, particularly SMMEs.
The one stop shop attended to more than 5000 enquiries received in various forms including WhatsApp messages, emails, telephones etc.
We assisted KZN applicants to access national Temporary Relief Schemes which saw 1 805 KZN applicants being approved for TERS.
We wish to report that R97, 9 million was approved for SMMEs representing different sectors of the economy. We have been able to save about 4 596 jobs.
Entrepreneurship Revolution and Job Creation
Allow me honourable members to also indicate that we have used resources of the department to assist small players as they form the pillar of our economy.
We work with key stakeholders in ensuring the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Transformation Plan.
We discussed this plan last week Friday during the meeting of the KZN Economic Council held last Friday.
We wish to report that the department has allocated R18, 3 million from the Operation Vula Fund to support fifteen (15) existing small enterprises in the toilet paper manufacturing.
An amount of R11, 790 million has been committed to support fifteen (15) existing small enterprises in bakery and confectionery
About R25 6 million has been committed to support eighty seven (87) existing small enterprises in the clothing and textile sector. Instead of importing from Asia and other continent, we are encouraging the Buy Local campaign.
An amount of R5, 4 million has been committed to support five (5) small enterprises detergents and chemical cleaning products manufacturing.
We view Job creation as a primary means through which economic growth and quick recovery can occur.
We want to achieve this by distributing the benefits of economic growth more widely and consequently reducing dependency on the welfare system.
Critically honourable members, we have stated in various platforms that our strategic focus is the following:-
Informal Traders across the province
Honourable members, due to the limited time, I wish to briefly reflect on the assistance extended to informal traders across all municipalities.
Our officials in district municipalities are focusing on local economy development initiatives.
We assisted informal traders to access informal traders' permits in line with the lockdown directives issued by the Minister of Small Business Development.
We were able to even consolidate of a comprehensive database of all licensed traders in order to ensure that they benefit from Government Relief Funding.
A total of 4 774 Special Spaza Shops Permits were issued in line with Lockdown regulations.
A total of 21 915 special Informal/Street Trading Permits were issued across the Province.
We will be launching a Spaza Shop Programme wherein each successful Spaza Show owner will receive R50 000 for renovations and more than R100 000 as working capital.
Oceans Economy - SMMEs and Co-operatives
Honourable Members, this province boasts the two largest ports on the continent, with a long coastline and hosts the largest number of ships than any port in the continent.
We are making progress in developing a variety of maritime sub sectors such as aquiculture. We have targeted small players to be involved in aquiculture farming in Richards Bay, Mandeni, Port Shepstone and other municipalities along the coast.
In addition, we wish to report that we are establishing fishing processing facilities along the entire coastline for 43 fishing communities.
We have secured fishing licensees of more than 35 small-scale fishing co-operatives from the national Department of Fisheries.
We have also started procuring modernized fishing processing facilities for these co-operatives. These will ensure that they meet international standards. Our main focus is to ensure that the small Scale fishing communities are assisted to graduate into commercial enterprises.
We want the small players to be involved in the entire value chain of the maritime sector. These include supplying products and services for the shipbuilding, conversion and maintenance of ships.
Managing retrenchment - skilling of the People - Post COVID-19
Chairperson, on the issue of skilling - allow me to talk briefly about the importance of re skilling of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
As government we have an enduring partnership with key industry role-players and civil society through forums such as KZN Growth Coalition, the KZN Economic Council and KZN Human Resources Development Council which is comprised of representatives of academic institutions.
Our focus is on reskilling people who have been retrenched or lost their jobs in both informal and formal economies. We want them to be re-absorbed in other sectors of the economy where we are registering growth such as agriculture.
We have a database of people that have been retrenched. For instance, we have managed to ensure that some workers who were retrenched by one hotel - get reabsorbed in another hotel which has just been opened.
Importantly, with their skills we want workers to operate in the following areas:-
There are other workers in the creative industry, tourism and many other sectors too many to mention. With the right training, we want them to become entrepreneurs capable of creating job opportunities in the townships and rural areas.
Our greatest concern is that job losses have resulted into spiraling levels of poverty. Many people have been retrenched and condemned to rural villages and peri-urban informal settlements with no means of survival.
I thank you