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“There is too much despair….We need to recognise the good work we’ve done,” he said.
“It’s important that South Africans know we are not a dismal country,” he added.
Gordhan was speaking at the release of a Goldman Sachs report titled “Two decades of freedom: What South Africa is doing with it, and what now needs to be done“.
The finance minister said the government has stressed on “inclusive growth” as the mainstay of its economic focus.
The starting point for inclusivity was education, he said at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg.
“Government has…done extremely well to widen access to the vast majority of South African children, but the quality of education is the next challenge we need to take on,” Gordhan said.
“Focusing on technology and education and on upgrading teachers will give young South Africans a better future.”
The second requirement for inclusivity was jobs.
“It is a well-established fact that if young people don’t have their first job experience, we and they have a despairing future. We must ensure we take as many young people [as possible] off the streets,” he said.
The Goldman Sachs report on Monday provided an analysis of how South Africa had changed in the past 20 years and its position in the world.
“As we approach 20 years of democracy in South Africa, we have an opportunity to take a step back and get a long-range factual perspective,” said Goldman Sachs South Africa head Colin Coleman.
“[The public sector] needs to up its game,” Coleman said.
The report urges special focus on youth unemployment. Seventy per cent of the unemployed were under the age of 34.
“We cannot have a generation left behind,” Coleman said.
There was a need for a labour pact for sustainable growth and employment and balanced wage and productivity growth, he said.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Coleman said the country’s membership in the BRICS club could prove as a boost to trade.
“South Africa must act fast to raise its game. It must build on its trade and linkages with African and BRIC economies, stabilise and revive its job-creating mining and manufacturing sectors…” he said.
South Africa was invited by China to join the four-member BRIC grouping of fast-growing emerging markets in December 2010.
“China believed that South Africa’s accession would promote the development of BRICS and enhance cooperation among emerging market economies,” South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said while South Africa was inducted in the group.
In an interview to The BRICS Post last month, the South African finance minister tried to ease investor worries surrounding the country’s mining sector, which witnessed a number of wage strikes last month.
“By and large we have a more stable environment now than a year ago. Most of the wage settlements have been reached in almost all of the sectors,” he told TBP.
With inputs from Agencies