Following Mathe, Miriam Altman, a former NPC commissioner and now the chief corporate strategist for Telkom, argued that while it was important for this country to nurture and grow its manufacturing output, that sector was unlikely to be a major source of employment for the foreseeable future.
said there is a real need to figure out, concretely, how the country is going to generate the 11 million jobs by 2030 called for in the NDP; there is a need to stress test the assumptions as well as the dreams of them.
said that realistically, it was unlikely more than 3% of employment created in the country over the next generation would - or could - actually come from the country's manufacturing sector.
The reason for this was that for manufacturing to be globally competitive, productivity needed to increase and that generally came from squeezing out labour in improved production efficiency, rather than adding labour to the manufacturing processes.
Or, as Altman
audience, "That doesn't mean that we shouldn't promote manufacturing, but it is very unlikely [the sector will create many new jobs] because a successful manufacturing sector in South Africa would require substantial productivity improvement.
Moreover, because the country had volatile exchange rate circumstances, that put a further crimp on expanding manufacturing, much less labour-intensive manufacturing.
Instead, South Africa, like pretty much everywhere else, is going to have to look to the services sector for much of its new job growth.
noted, "Most jobs come from services and we need to get a much greater sense of how we promote dynamism in services and how we stimulate services employment.
noted, because "The future of work is in low-paid work," if cash wages were low, that would actually put further pressure on the government to ensure there was a fuller social security system of social benefits to help relieve the upward demand pressure on cash wages.
and Mathe, asked if their presentations seemed to point to a more thorough interrogation of the nation's political will to make the hard choices needed to get this done, Mathe replied that the nation's leadership has made the requisite statements about the will to achieve such changes and that "our job is to believe them.
There already is, for example, a ramping up of national investment in infrastructure consistent with the NDP.
added that the president's recent SONA "gives me good vibes".
In response, Altman
replied that there continues to be a social need to protect South Africa's hard-won labour gains.