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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa Jobs Summit
plans tackling high unemployment levels

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- With South Africa battling high unemployment levels and the shedding of jobs, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday called on businesses to consider exploring other alternatives, including reducing executives’ high salaries before embarking on layoffs.

Addressing delegates at the Presidential Jobs Summit aimed at addressing unemployment, retaining existing jobs and growing the ailing economy, Ramaphosa said identified interventions should be implemented to tackle the chronic challenge.

The two-day Job Summit in Midrand commenced on Thursday and ends on Friday.

"As a result, the decline of the mining industry and manufacturing has cost the country millions of jobs and much economic capacity," said Ramaphosa.

As a critical starting point, social partners agreed that in the current economic environment the Jobs Summit must focus on both creating new jobs and retaining existing one, he said.

"There is agreement that all possible alternatives and opportunities need to be explored before retrenchment is considered, including executive salary sacrifices and the foregoing of dividends," Ramaphosa said.

The summit brought together players from different fields including business, labour and government with the aim of creating jobs at a time when South Africa has an unemployment rate of 27.2 percent .

"We need to address the challenge that South Africa is faced with. Unemployment is a great challenge facing the country.

"Unemployment diminishes our ability to eradicate poverty and inequality...

"We need to grow an inclusive economy, the stimulus package we announced will contribute to this job creation," he said.

The Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said that solutions were required to address youth unemployment.

"Unemployment drives young people to crime and gangsterism.

"We have a crisis in our hands, we have debated this for a long time, but we need to develop and adopt solutions that are clear," Ntshalintshali said.

With many calling for a solution concerning the crisis, during his state of the nation address this year, Ramaphosa announced that the government would host the summit in a bid to address the issue.

Figures released by Statistic South Africa last week revealed that about 70,000 jobs were lost during the second quarter of 2018 in the country.

Ramaphosa added that the role players who are part of the summit had agreed to drive job creation and were planning on creating some 275,000 direct jobs a year.
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UPDATES:

Cape Town South Africa ranked top opportunity city in Africa

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The City of Cape Town on Thursday welcomed the decision by the World Bank to rank it as the top opportunity metropolis in Africa.

"It is a confirmation of the city’s commitment to provide better services to residents and create an enabling environment for businesses to flourish, while creating fair access to jobs," said Cape Town’s Mayor-elect Dan Plato.

In its "Doing Business in South Africa" report released earlier this week, the bank said that when it comes to the ease of doing business, Cape Town is the number one metropolitan municipality in Africa.

The World Bank assessed metros in 190 economies, including South Africa’s nine metropolitan municipalities.

Cape Town came out on top of the eight South African metros assessed in two of the World Bank’s four indicators.

Cape Town is South Africa’s legislative capital with a population of about four million.

The city ranks first as the city in dealing with construction permits.

"New businesses take 88 days to obtain all the necessary licences and permits, completing required notifications and inspections, nearly half to Johannesburg’s 155-day period.

Among other key indicators that were top priorities for investors were reliable infrastructure which costs the city six billion rand (about 416 million U.S. dollars) annually, fast internet and energy security.

The city has set a goal of sourcing up to 20 percent of Cape Town’s energy supply from renewable energy by 2020.

"While we are proud of its track record in government, I want to echo Mayor Patricia De Lille’s sentiment that we must not become complacent and continue to do all we can to provide residents with better access to opportunities," said Plato, who will replace De Lille by the end of October.

Plato said that when he became mayor, he would ensure that the city build on the successes of the city and strengthen its ties with the Western Cape provincial government so that innovative programs that address the challenges the Capetonians face.

Cape Town is run by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

"The DA-led City of Cape Town has made great progress and together we will be able to do more so that every resident of Cape Town is able to live their best life," Plato said.
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South African Parliament calls for comprehensive
strategic intervention to combat 'gang violence'

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s Parliament on Wednesday called for comprehensive strategic intervention to combat rising gang violence that grips parts of the country.

Tackling gang violence is not only a matter of law and order but comprehensive strategic intervention involving relevant government departments, civil society, non-governmental organizations, business, educational institutions, community leaders and religious institutions, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police (PCP) said in a statement.

This came after a new spate of gang violence wrecked havoc on communities across the country, particularly in Cape Town and the Western Cape province which reported 808 gang-related murders in the period from April 1, 2017 to April 31, 2018, according to the latest crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele last month.

In August this year, a fight among gangs vying to control parks from where they want to sell drugs resulted in nine people killed and 10 others wounded in a Cape Town suburb.

Earlier on Wednesday, community leaders in Cape Town organized a march to Parliament to highlight gang violence in the city and the Western Cape province.

PCP Chairperson Francois Beukman met with the community leaders to hear their concerns and grievances.

Beukman said after the meeting that his committee takes very seriously the concerns and complaints of the protesters about police service delivery.

"When communities are under siege by criminals and their ability to function as citizens becomes impaired, extraordinary measures should be taken by law-enforcement agencies," said Beukman.

He said a long-term and sustainable action plan to deal with gang-related violence from a policing perspective should be underpinned by the roll-out of operational command centers in affected areas, the strengthening of crime intelligence capability in affected areas, and strong collaboration between police, intelligence and National Prosecuting Authority.

According to Beukman, his committee will invite the affected communities, the SAPS, the Civilian Police Secretariat and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to a special meeting to discuss rising gang violence.

The date for the meeting will be announced in the coming week, he said.

From an oversight perspective, it is essential for Parliament to scrutinize the current strategies and plans to deal with gang and gun violence in communities to ensure that service delivery is improved, Beukman added.
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World Bank downgrades South Africa growth forecasts

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- The World Bank downgraded South Africa’s growth forecast for 2018 on Wednesday to 1 percent from 1.4 percent.

The World Bank also lowered South Africa’s growth forecasts for 2019 to 1.3 percent from 1.8 percent and to 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent in 2020.

"Growth is expected to remain subdued in 2019, as domestic demand is constrained by high unemployment and slow growth in credit extension to households, and as fiscal consolidation limits government spending," the World Bank stated in its regional economic outlook for Africa.

"The higher growth in 2020 reflects the expectation that the government’s structural reform agenda will gradually gather speed, helping to boost investment growth, as policy uncertainty recedes," World Bank noted.

The World Bank also believed South African president’s economic stimulus package would not do much to kick-start the country’s sluggish economy.

The country recently announced an economic blueprint following figures that show the economy has entered a technical recession.

"The economic effect of the stimulus plan is likely to be limited, as it mostly consists of already committed public spending.

"However, planned reforms, including on mining regulation and utility pricing, will improve the business environment and encourage investment," said the World Bank.

World Bank said it expects economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa to pick up to 2.7 percent in this year from 2.3 percent last year, barely above population growth.

"The region’s economic recovery continues but at a slower pace than expected," the World Bank said.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele said on Tuesday the consumer inflation of South Africa could breach the 6 percent upper limit of Reserve Bank’s target band.
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300 injured in South Africa train collision

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- At least 300 people were injured after a train collision in Kempton Park of South Africa on Thursday evening.

By 11:30 p.m., there were no fatalities.

"About 300 were injured, commuters suffered serious, but not critical injuries," the Gauteng Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said on Thursday night.

According to the Metrorail spokesperson, the train became faulty and collided with another stationary train.

The injured commuters were sent to several local hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa said an inquiry would be set up to find out the cause of the accident and promised to work with other agencies to look into the accident.

"Metrorail technical teams will be working around the clock to recover the site.

"The cost of the accident is still unknown at this stage," Mofokeng added.

Some of the commuters proceeded to their destination on another train which was made available.

In September, over 100 passengers were injured after a collision between Metrorail’s two passenger trains in the south of Johannesburg.

             

 

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