09 OCTOBER 2018
Jobs Summit success will depend on implementation
by Raymond Parsons: Professor at the NWU School of Business & Governance and a former special policy adviser to Busa.
The Framework Agreement (FA) signed at the Presidential Jobs Summit today was a welcome step in strengthening collaboration between the social partners and government in order to more effectively tackle the urgent challenges of unemployment and growth in SA. The signatories all made serious commitments. The success of the wide-ranging decisions in the FA to promote jobs and growth now depends entirely on there being strong monitoring and effective implementation to ensure results in the period ahead in ways that will make a difference.
The FA recognises the importance of turning the Summit decisions into tangible outcomes on the ground, if credibility and confidence are to be built. This was also emphasised by President Ramaphosa in his keynote address. Action is therefore the watchword, if the potential of FA is to be translated into reality and its targets reached. Effective political and economic leadership can also make a big difference in helping to reduce the trust deficit between government and the private sector and in providing policy certainty through a more favourable economic environment.
Given the magnitude of the job crisis in SA, there can of course be no 'magic wand' here. The FA must be seen as the commencement of a new process in policy making to expedite practical measures that could make a difference to the unemployment outlook. The FA has thus now become another important building block towards helping to turn the economy around sooner rather than later. And to assess the growth and jobs impact of the FA it therefore also remains essential not to see its potential outcomes in isolation, but taken together with the forthcoming Investment Summit and the economic stimulus package that will be concretised in the Medium Term Budget Statement on October 24.
These combined processes underscore not only the extent to which SA's current socio-economic challenges are structural in nature rather than cyclical, but also emphasises the degree to which the solutions lie in SA's hands. Although there are other key economic reforms that probably will remain unfinished business at least until the 2019 elections are out of the way, practical steps such as in the FA need to take where consensus can be reached in the meantime.