South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal seeks to integrate the provincial economy into the world economy; this is according to MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Michael Mabuyakhulu.
Mabuyakhulu told the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Council panel that for the last decade the province had grown at an average of 3.5 to 4 per cent which is higher the national average.
“On average we grow higher than the national average which indicates the potential this province,” said Mabuyakhulu.
“We are not only the second biggest province in as far as GDP contribution is concerned but we have advantages in areas such as being the second largest industrial base which indicates we have the potential to address unemployment, inequality and poverty.”
Moses Tembe, convenor of Business in KwaZulu-Natal said the province was also striving to create a strong, robust and balanced economy.
“As an exception, in KwaZulu-Natal, we have always said while it is critical to create sustainable jobs, it is also important to build the capacity in the economy that can absorb new jobs,” said Tembe.
“We are working very hard to integrate the KwaZulu-Natal economy into the global economy and we believe to achieve that we need to build an efficient manufacturing sector.”
(WATCH VIDEO: Striking a balance between investment attraction & industrial relations)
Chris Gina from organised labour said there was need to train and develop skills.
“We come from a culture of semi-skilled labour force but we need to make sure that we develop skills and workforce so as to ensure that even in the time of redundancy the work force can use skills to capacitate itself,” he said.
Some studies show that South Africa ranks close to the bottom on labour flexibilities which is one component that affect investor sentiment.
The challenges with labour are alleged to be impacting on productivity.
Steven Friedman, director of the Centre of Democracy at the University of Johannesburg said to the contrary productivity was a management function which had nothing to do with whether workers worked hard or not.
“If we have a productivity problem then it is because we have inherited a system that was operation prior to 1994,” said Friedman.
“We have a series of problems such as how we relate to each other and the way we run the economy. As long as we have not solved these problems, we are not going to get out of this,” he said.