ANC eThekwini Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda speaking at the KZN Economic Council Summit

Photograph: KZN Premiers Office

KZN Jobs Latest: Economic Council Summit tackles skills crisis

Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told the KZN Economic Council Summit that the city had established war rooms to focus on skills and job creation.

ANC eThekwini Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda speaking at the KZN Economic Council Summit

Photograph: KZN Premiers Office

Government, business and labour leaders have convened the KZN Economic Council Summit in Durban which aims to build a resilient economy to create jobs.    

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, speaking at the KZN summit, said that it was only through the concerted efforts and unity of purpose by all social partners that KZN could address the socio-economic challenges plaguing society.                                                                        “We strongly believe that one of the issues we must discuss during this summit is the progress we are making in the implementation of our economic recovery plan as a province. Where there are bottlenecks, we need to propose practical solutions to unlock obstacles that impede progress,” he said.

“We must ensure that in a short space of time, all our sectors of the economy fully recover and create jobs for our people.  The majority of our people face an uncertain future as their jobs continue to be on the line and statistics indicate that over 2 million people have already lost jobs during this difficult period.”

He said the eThekwini Economic Council which was established in 2020 would work closely with the KZN provincial government

Kaunda said the council had established 15 work streams, focusing on various sectors of the economy. These work streams are developing plans to unlock the economic potential of the following sectors which are critical in driving socio-economic recovery: 

  • The Manufacturing Sector – improving manufacturing capacity base to attract investment and support local manufacturers. 
  • Fast tracking the Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation Programme in the Agriculture and Agro-Processing sector;
  • Improving Information Communications Technology – now is the time to migrate to a smart city and to accelerate digital connectivity.
  • Implement Renewable Energy and Energy Reforms. For the economy to grow energy security is needed. 
  • Tourism Development. The post Covid-19 economy will create a new way of doing tourism and city needs to take advantage of the transformation opportunities
  • Transport and Logistics sector. The city must work towards making  its  transport system and port operations globally competitive.
  • Unlock Oceans Economy. Durban is a coastal city that needs to take advantage of its vast coastal and marine resources.

“As part of translating plans emanating from these workstreams into action, we have established a Mayoral Jobs Creation and Skills Revolution War Room which works closely with the economic council. The War Room focuses on, among other things, implementation of decisions emanating from the council within specified time frames. This war room concept addresses the challenge of lack of implementation of plans by government,” Kaunda said.

However, he added that rebuilding the economy would not be an easy task, considering that even before COVID-19, KZN already faced challenges such as a high unemployment rate; low technical skills base; a monopolistic nature economy and an unreliable energy supply. 

“These are some of the issues we must discuss as social partners and find practical solutions,” he said,