SA invests R1bn a day in infrastructure – Patel
The South African government will use instruments such as tariff hikes to protect jobs in sectors threatened by imports, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Tuesday.
Addressing scores of delegates at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) congress in Midrand, Patel presented a state of the economy since the labour federation’s last congress in 2012. Print Send to Friend 0 0 Patel said government would “aggressively” use tariffs to save jobs.
He said government has imposed tariff increases for, among others, mussels, pasta, chicken, offal, wheat, windscreens and car batteries. “These are the things we do to save South African jobs,” Patel said. Governments usually use tariffs to protect domestic employment, consumers and to shield infant industries.
The South African government in August announced a conditional 10% duty on certain imported steel products to save the ailing steel industry, which is taking strain from cheap imports mainly from China. Patel said job creation was a priority for government.
He said focus on jobs should be in key areas such as infrastructure development, industrialisation, innovation, inclusion of workers and small businesses and the integration into the rest of the African economy.
He said the rest of Africa was a key destination for some of the products made in South Africa. He said 1.2-million jobs were created since the last Cosatu congress and 1.8-million people entered the job market. Sectors which created the most jobs were construction, government and business.
However, there were job losses in manufacturing, he said. He also highlighted infrastructure investment developments. “Every day, government invests R1-billion in infrastructure,” he said. Patel said SA was going through the biggest infrastructure programme in its history.