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Real Jobs Summit proposes ways to tackle unemployment

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Cry of the Xcluded campaigners will march to Parliament to mark Budget Day

Photo of a crowded hall
On Tuesday, the last day of the two-day Real Jobs Summit, held at St George’s Cathedral, grassroots activists from around the country reported back after hours of group discussions. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana
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Cry of the Xcluded campaigners have presented their plan of action on how to deal with the crisis of unemployment in the country.

On Tuesday, the last day of the two-day Real Jobs Summit, held at St George’s Cathedral, activists from across the country reported back after hours of group discussions.

A list of actions was drawn up: building an assembly of the unemployed in all communities across the country; introducing the Western Cape “Back to Work” campaign of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union to more provinces; rebuilding the public sector, which would entail the municipal workers doing more than just expanded public works programme jobs such as garbage collection and cleaning the streets; having training and skills development programmes in communities.

The campaigners also want a basic income grant; government to stop importing goods and rather teach people to manufacture locally; and the establishment of well-resourced municipalities and ward councillors that are accountable to their communities and not to political parties.

The campaign’s Mercia Andrews said: “When we listened to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, it was more and more talking. The time for talking is now over. We need action.”

“Apart from these solutions, we also need to have a plan for ourselves. What are we going to do when the government does not deliver? We need to think and act differently and not only wait for government to deliver. We must act much more politically independent,” said Andrews.

South African Federation of Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who attended the final day of the summit, described the two-day event as historic.

“We have just concluded a very historic Real Jobs Summit, led by the unemployed themselves. In future, when we talk about unemployment, the people who should be in the front of all the marches and demonstrations, should be the unemployed masses, speaking for themselves.

“You cannot talk about freedom when nearly six out of every ten young people are unemployed, when people are living in poverty, when so many women are unemployed … So we will have unfreedom activities throughout April. All this will lead [up to] mass demonstrations around the country in May,” said Vavi.

The Real Jobs Summit campaigners will march to Parliament to mark Budget Day on Wednesday and present a memorandum of demands about jobs and economic recovery to Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni.

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TOPICS:  Unemployment

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