Pretoria: President Jacob Zuma says there is a need to stimulate South Africa’s economy in the face of deteriorating world markets and labour unrest in the country.
“We have emerged today with one voice, one message and strong confidence in our capacity as a society to address the immediate challenges we face and to lay a basis for long term growth and job creation,” he said after meeting with various social partners in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by the presidents of Business Unity South Africa, the Black Business Council, Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu and the overall convenor of the community constituency at Nedlac as well as several Cabinet ministers.
It agreed that “a package of economic and socio-economic measures” was necessary to address underlying social pressures and to act as a stimulus to pressures on the local economy as a result of slowing global growth.
Zuma said the parties agreed to take steps to increase investor confidence in the South African economy and social stability using their capacities to build a strong South Africa.
An “action package” had been developed to address many challenges facing the country.
“While many accords and social agreements have been reached in the past, we want this to be different in the speed and focus of our implementation.
“We will monitor implementation at the higher level, with ministers and social partner leaders meeting regularly and reporting to me,” Zuma said.
In response to the wildcat strikes in the mining sector and the recent violent strike by truck drivers, the meeting called on workers engaged in unprotected strikes to return to work.
“We are of the common view that our collective bargaining system is broadly sound, and that the integrity of the system must be defended,” said the President.
Violence and intimidation during strikes needed to come to an end.
A call has also been made to chief executives and leaders of business to freeze salary increases and bonuses over the next 12 months as a signal of commitment to building an equitable economy.
The parties will set up a committee to consider the local and international experience in addressing income inequalities and develop further proposals within the next six months, added Zuma.