Chamber comments ahead of the State of the Nation Address

PRESIDENT Zuma’s State of the Nation address tonight should encourage business to create new jobs and make it easier for businesses to do so, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Unemployment is now our most urgent problem and we need to do something dramatic to bring more people into the work place,” said Mr Fred Jacobs, President of the Chamber.
“Last month we lost 51 495 jobs and most of those were permanent jobs. We know there are good plans to boost employment through infrastructure projects, but it will be some time before the real work starts. We would like details on the youth wage subsidy scheme and when it will be introduced.”
He said the past few months of strikes and demands for huge and unaffordable wage increases had had a depressing effect on business. “We are looking to the government for support and understanding of the role business plays in growing the economy and creating the wealth of the country and the jobs.”
It was essential for the President to deal with the Eskom problem. “Five 16 percent tariff increases will have a drastic effect on our economy. Factories will close, new projects will be shelved and thousands of people will lose their jobs. This message has been spelled out loud and clear at the Nersa public hearings, but a response is now awaited from the Government, the sole shareholder.”
Mr Jacobs said there was broad support of the National Development plan and Business would like details on how it was to be implemented and when.
Part of the plan was the easing of labour laws to lower the risk of hiring young workers. The plan also required the State to professionalise the public service, strengthen accountability and prosecute corruption.
“We hope President Zuma will provide some details on how these goals are to be achieved,” Mr Jacobs said.

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