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Four global trends tailor-made to create South African jobs


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Four global trends tailor-made to create South African jobs


25th January 2024


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The Defend our Democracy-hosted nine-webinar series, led by John Matisonn, providing an innovative forum for discussion, ideas and reflections on 30 years of democracy in South Africa, continued recently with the third webinar in the series focused on the "four global trends tailored to create South African jobs", which included the information economy, mining, green economy, and agriculture.

The webinar's goal was to provide an overview of strategies that can be implemented to drastically restructure South Africa's economy by increasing job numbers by hundreds of thousands in the short term, leading to considerably more in the medium term. Job creation is critical for economic strength and stability in society.


Prior to conceptualizing ideas on job creation, it is critical to grasp the problem at hand, which is that the economy's largest urgent handicaps are electricity, rail, and ports.

In defining what is achievable in terms of achieving quick growth and job creation, Matisonn affirmed that South Africa could use benchmark practices from Asia and other African nations that are doing well, such as Ethiopia and Kenya.


South Africa must realize that policy is not permanent; it must change, it must fulfill short-term objectives in less than five years and then move on to the next phase with new objectives. Matisonn believes that South Africa has good policies but for some reason does not apply them adequately.

Matisonn also highlighted the key point that the ideologies of many successful countries revolve around economic nationalism and patriotic missions, something South Africa should adopt.

Jobs are becoming increasingly fragmented, with people needing to move through an increasing number of professions, projects, and companies over the course of their lives, particularly in industries such as the information economy.

Jobs created by the information economy encompass a wide range of abilities that are excellent for both entry-level graduates and school-leavers. Call centers, coding, banking, and legal help are among them.

Furthermore, Matisonn claims that black South Africans are seizing possibilities in technology to build African tech across the country. There has also been a significant increase in "African tech" - South Africans designing their own, locally oriented applications for new communication channels.

Our state should cease fantasizing about developing smart cities since, according to research, smart cities exacerbate inequalities that we already have.

In terms of mining, South Africa's mining sector has historically been at the heart of the country's economic development, owing to the country's competitive position as one of the world's greatest resource-rich nations.

However, it is now recorded that South African mining is in long-term decline since exploration has greatly decreased, which is exacerbated by the fact some of the large mines are old. Yet, there is always the possibility of discovering new minerals in South Africa.

Matisonn identified two factors that contribute to the collapse of the mining sector: first, there is present ambiguity about policy on ownership and BEE, which is worsened by the high turnover of mining ministers, and second, the permit system is archaic and badly managed. South Africa currently ranks the worst of all mining countries in terms of ease of doing business, with Namibia performing better.

Responding to our energy crisis, which also contributes to the inefficiency of the mining sector, Matisonn says South Africa needs a unified policy to build a long-term green economy that includes not only solar and wind electricity, but also supplies of numerous minerals required for new green technologies such as electric cars.

Agriculture is another important sector, as it employs many people who wish to stay on the land but lack the qualifications to work in the information economy or other development sectors.

One of the challenges to advancement is that South Africa has between 200 000 and 250 000 black smallholder farmers who are eking out a living without major state assistance. Furthermore, Matisonn says that another problem is that large-scale commercial farmers dominate agriculture.

To address this, he stated that the potential for black smallholders is untapped and that doing so will reduce inequality rather than increase it.

Another intriguing study found that a disproportionate share of land reform allocations went to politically connected urban individuals for whom this was not their principal source of income.

As stated by Matisonn, the South African government has to strengthen the agriculture department's ability to increase extension services and review crop ratios. Furthermore, rather than requiring university degrees, well-trained officers with credentials who can make a significant difference are required.

He concludes by adding that if these four things, which are totally within the capacity of South Africa's society under a focused administration, are implemented, we may have the foundation for a prosperous five years with more opportunities ahead.

Written by Tshedza Sikhwari, research intern at Defend our Democracy


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