Bringing good relief to Africa’s unemployment, the four-day 2017 Mining Indaba is planned to focus on job creation starting with the city of Cape town where the event is set to take place.
Unlike last year’s Mining Indaba where a wide range of issues were focused on. This year’s event – which is expected to have over 6000 role-players in attendance, would prioritize job creation, less regulations and full support for the industry.
While economic experts are expected to address these issues at the 2017 Mining Indaba, the president of the Chamber of Mines, Mike Teke, has emphasized that African governments must enhance their relationships with sectors so as to bring about quick and responsive approach in dealing with unemployment menace.
Unemployment in South Africa has reportedly skyrocketed to over 27 percent, causing panic on how it would affect the country’s ailing economy.
In Statistics SA’s report closing the year 2016, the jobless rate in South Africa went up to 27.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 26.6 percent in the previous period, reaching the highest since 2004.
As at November last year, employment rose faster than unemployment but more people joined the labour force, bringing the participation rate up to its highest since 2002.
Like in most other African countries, unemployment rate in South Africa averaged 25.35 percent from 2000 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 31.20 percent in the first quarter of 2003 and a record low of 21.50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
In reaction to this growing rate, Mike Teke reiterated the importance of the government working together with private sectors in addressing the issue. “We need to help each other and the minister needs to provide that support and leadership in the industry,” he said.
Mining analyst Peter Major also called on Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to put more effort on job creation.
“I would love to hear him say, ‘Guys I want to draw a line in the sand. We have all been living here and we’ve been fighting like hell for the last decade. I just want to look forward and create jobs, because I know if we create jobs then we create wealth,” Major said ahead of the 2017 Mining Indaba event
Last year’s Mining Indaba had delegates discussing on investment and the development of mining interests in Africa. It also focused on fatalities within the mining sector which have caused a lot of concerns about safety.
Meanwhile, SA will by next month, publish its revised Mining Charter bringing closer legislation meant to redress racial economic inequality but which has concerned companies struggling with lower commodity prices.
The new charter, which was revised in 2010, requires companies to provide housing and other amenities in mining communities, many of which are mired in poverty and neglect.
Mining companies say they were not consulted in the latest draft but Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane denied this and sought to reassure investors.
“We have consulted extensively with stakeholders,” Zwane said in a speech at the opening of a mining summit in Cape Town.
“We call upon investors to come to South Africa and engage us frankly as we move towards transformation of our economy. We will continue to have an open-door policy.”
The Chamber of Mines, which represents most of the industry, has threatened to take the government to court over the latest draft, which requires companies to keep black ownership at 26 percent even if black shareholders sell their stakes.
The ruling African National Congress has long been pressured to address the gaping inequality that persists 23 years after the end of apartheid. SA blacks make up 80 percent of the 54 million population, yet most of the economy in terms of land ownership and companies remains in the hands of white people, who account for around 8 percent of the population.
Hence, the 2017 Mining Indaba, will not only be focused on providing a solution to unemployment in Africa, particularly in South, it would also look into job distributions between the black and white race.