Speech by the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour, Honourable. Boitumelo Moloi


Our Moderator: Dr Dabula
Chairperson of Productivity SA Board: Prof Mthunzi Mdwaba.
Board Members Present on this virtual Platform;
The CEO of Productivity SA: NTATE Mothiba
Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at University of Johannesburg Ms Joyce Sibeko
Business Representative: Ms. Raghmah Solomon, Founder of Vortex Design Solutions (Productivity Award Finalist 2019)
The Entity Management;
Stakeholders Present on this virtual platform;
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Dumela.

• As we celebrate Women’s month (August 2020) under the theme: “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”. This concept of Generation Equality is a global campaign that links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030.

• I am told that The theme for this event is “Sustainable SMMEs- the catalyst for innovation, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. I hope for the future purposes, we shall incorporate the Women’s month themes within our schedule.
• This is a very progressive initiative and I must also mention my passion for Entrepreneurship Development and I'm sure Ntate Mothiba the CEO and Prof Mdwaba will attest to this. When I came to this Department this is one Entity I first met and had several sessions and exchanged ideas.
• Aligned to the ILO Centenary Declaration for the future of work (2019) and the Abidjan Declaration (2019), this theme recognises the crucial role of sustainable enterprises as generators of full and productive employment and promoters of innovation and decent work.
• I am also excited to see that the theme also highlights further, the role Business Turnaround and Recovery will play in supporting companies facing economic distress with the objective of preserving over 9000 jobs and mitigating the retrenchment of workers.
• I am assured by the capable men and women at Productivity SA that today's event enhances the Business Turnaround and Recovery programme’s objective and the implementation of turnaround strategies aimed at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of SMMEs experiencing operational challenges.
• It is only through platforms such as this one, that entrepreneurs are afforded an opportunity to reflect on and share business practices and principles; highlight the value of entrepreneurship, find ways of understanding the role of innovation within society and provide know-how to younger generations and to the public.
• This is a commendable effort indeed and we hope it goes beyond just a theme, concept and theory. We need practical solutions now more than ever before.
• The reality that has struck our country is that society finds itself between those who have jobs and those who do not have the jobs and this situation is so catastrophic and dangerous for our Politics and the Economy. Chairperson
• We live in the time of Contemporary Identity Politics and times when Societies struggle for Recognition. We live in the times where, unless we forge a Universal understanding of human dignity, we are doomed to endure unending conflict.
• All modern schools of Political thought, from Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin on the left to Frederich Hayek and Milton Friedman on the right, agree on at least one thing - That Private entrepreneurship is the driver of modern Economic Development. This is very fundamental and True.
• Most Scholars believe, that in a quest for greater security and comfort, the private individuals and their households are driven to seek ever increasing material wealth.
• This process, in turn, compels these private individuals to produce more and more and exchange what they produce with other individuals who are also seeking greater security and comfort.
• The sum total of these acts of production, exchange and consumption constitute what is known as the Modern Capitalist Economy. The Chinese refer to this model as Capitalism with the Chinese characteristics. Maybe it’s about time we have our own model too and this platform will contribute towards a more responsive Economic Model for the South African Economy.
• We all know that a Capitalist Economy is inherently driven to produce more and more because people must generate savings which they plough back into the production process as new and improved techniques, process and products. This enables society to produce better and more diverse products to exchange with others who are doing the same.

• So the most inexorable logic of capital accumulation is that the more you produce the more you must produce, the cheaper you must produce and the better products you must produce, because if you don't, others who are seeking greater security and comfort will displace you in the marketplace and you will therefore suffer reduced security and comfort.
• Production, exchange, markets, savings, improved techniques (research and development), medium of exchange(money) and Economic growth.These are the keywords.
• Africans are, of course, no different from other human beings in desiring security and comfort. What is happening, however, is that the great majority of Africans are today experiencing the opposite - Less security and comfort, this status quo must change.
• In fact in many instances they face hunger, homelessness, the threat of violence, actual violence, disease and starvation. The ILO African must change this. This is Africa time. Africa’s time is now.
• The protests in Beirut, Lebanon which led to the resignation of the Minister of foreign affairs and the entire Government, the USA protests over black lives matter, the Zimbabwe and Mali protests, all these protests catalogue unhappiness and lack of confidence in the Political System.
• There are signs of confrontations between the civil society led by the Non-Governmental Organizations against the Establishment.
• We see the same manifestations in South Africa supported by the NGO movements and some Political Parties purporting that the Executive must be dissolved.
• We see some manifestations purporting that we should delay the local government elections and yet there is a popular narrative that government is incapable of managing the Covid19 resources.
• Some of these narratives are malicious and tired but to some degree South Africa is not immune from what is happening in America, Lebanon, Mali and Zimbabwe.
• Unfortunately, in situations characterized by disbelief, the state must intervene and we all know that not all efforts will be perfect.
• It is the responsibility of the state to intervene and what all other parties should be doing instead, is to enhance the state capacity and partner with government or give advices. Our government listens and takes counsel most of the time. We are a listening government.
• We also understand that the government primary focus is on the poor and vulnerable communities and it follows that with our history of inequality as a country, that the poorest communities will bear the Pandemic brunt and this is where our plans should be directed to the most. Chairperson I'm reminded of the words by the famous Author, a woman, Brenè Brown when she says;
• "The fear of vulnerability and all that comes with taking off the armour, the fear of being judged or misunderstood, of making a mistake, being wrong and experiencing shame - is a universal phenomenon."
• So very often credit goes to the person whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, fails while daring greatly.
• She goes further and says "credit goes to the Person in the arena - and the greatest arena in a world overrun with fear, criticism and cynicism is Vulnerability."
• She defines integrity in her book (Dare to lead) as choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy and she says integrity is practicing your values, not just processing them.

• According to Brenè Brown, once we are in emotional lockdown, we can’t really hear or process anything that is being said because we’ve been hijacked by the limbic system and we are in an emotional survival mode. • In my view, South Africans believed and trusted the decisions and processes taken by our government.
• The early lockdown in my view was a necessary and compellable decision although with heavy consequences but the government priority was to save lives by delaying the spread of the virus.
• This decision came out of thorough consultations at the level of government and with all political parties represented in Parliament.
• These consultations yielded public trust and confidence and allowed the department of health, Scientists, Epidemiologists and other experts to do their work and advice government through the National Command Council which is led by the President. • Since the lockdown, the Labour market survey and Statistics SA reports in Quarter 1 suggests that almost 3 million jobs have been lost. The prediction over the second quarter is almost severe and very disastrous.
• Government Regulations have been published to intervene and assist the struggling industries and lockdown has since been adjusted to allow some businesses to go back to work with the exception of those business that are posing a health risk to our systems and those that will jeopardize government efforts of saving lives.
• We now know as a country that Corona Virus is a respiratory disease, we are also aware of the government protocols that have been approved and commended by the World Health Organization that is guiding all member States in terms of managing and controlling this Pandemic - Social distance, wearing mask, sanitizing and washing our hands regularly with soap.
• This is an important message for the public to know and practice because as our President once said, it is in our hands to control this virus and save our lives and the lives of those around us.
• We often hear of the very popular scientific terminologies during Covid19 such as immunization, vaccination and inoculation.
• No matter how we look at, there is always an inequality and poverty consequence when there is no balance between the Politics and Science. This Pandemic has brought upon us, a humanitarian crisis.
• We also know that If enough people in a population are immune to a disease, it is difficult for the disease to spread.
• We rely on the current studies and trials and hope that one day when the vaccine is found for South Africans, that the vaccine and hopefully will be made in Africa or in South Africa in particular.
• Until the vaccine is found, we know that this disease is amongst us and will live with us for days, months and probably a few more years.
Ladies and Gentlemen as I conclude
• There’s a voice that seems to suggest that most establishments are unscientific in their approach in terms of dealing with the devastating effects of Covid19, that Politicians have abandoned the poor and that we are obsessed with enriching ourselves through Covid19 procurement, corruption and fraud.
• This is a dangerous narrative and requires concerted effort to deflate. • Over the years, we have experienced explosive, terrifying and deadly Epidemics and Pandemics like smallpox, measles and flu. But because over the years, we have always relied on the scientific expertise, we succeeded on the management and control of these killer diseases.

• One thing all Scientists agree upon, is that the one human activity that is key to microbe spread is our propensity to travel. Our government was amongst the very first governments in the world, that acted on time in terms of travel bans.
• This was an extremely difficult and painful decision which put a heavy burden on the Economy. Companies were forced to shut down, people lost jobs, lost their earnings and the government regulations towards intervening in this situation stretched government resources.
• We see protests all over the world of people asking the most fundamental question, how are they expected to feed their families during lockdown?
• This is a very difficult question to answer in a country whose Economy pre-lockdown faced a sharp decline, high unemployment rate and ratings downgrades.
• We are coerced to find a balance between Politics and Science. Something the most established economies and old democracies such as the USA are currently battling to maintain.
• One thing is certain though, no one was prepared for this Pandemic. We have overlooked the health care system and these are the devastating effects that we are facing now.
• This will require a radical policy shift with speed of implementation and no rhetoric.
• In the words of one of the world's outstanding futurists; Alvin Toffler.
o The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed,
o That the society will run itself quite nicely until they — at some distant point in the future — will take over the reign.
o Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely…
o For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of the young people is imbecile.

• Chairperson, I wish you well in all your ILO endeavours, I'm aware of the current African Agenda in the ILO and I also say, this is Africa's time.
• Ladies and Gentlemen once again, thank you for inviting me and I wish you all a productive day.

I thank you.