The industrial hubs of Dimbaza and Fort Jackson should be revived so Buffalo City can employ masses of people who can then progress along the skills chain.
This is the message of East London labour lawyer Jonathan Goldberg, who will be a keynote speaker at the Daily Dispatch Strategic Business Summit next Thursday.
The summit will be looking at how business decision-makers can make sense of South Africa’s current political and economic situation and develop effective ways forward.
Last month the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), with the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), launched the first phase of the Vulindlela Industrial Park in Mthatha, following a R22-million upgrade.
DTI deputy director-general Sipho Zikode said this was part of an effort to revive several defunct industrial zones in the province, including Dimbaza and Fort Jackson.
Goldberg, who is the chief executive of Global Business Solutions and an expert in labour law, broadbased economic empowerment, human resource management and industrial relations, said it was vital to determine whether South Africa’s labour law regulatory framework was not too advanced for the country’s current position.
“Are we trying to create labour-intensive jobs or high-skill jobs or are we trying to do both? And are we adapting to the future picture of what work looks like?”
Goldberg said the “future of work” was artificial intelligence, robots and a motor vehicle sector driven by mechanisation, but it should also include the provision of jobs for the masses of unemployed, poorly skilled people.
“We need to resuscitate Dimbaza and Fort Jackson as manufacturing hubs and create concessions and an environment that will allow the employment of masses of people and then to progress them up the skills chain, because unless you’ve got work, how do you progress up the skills chain?”
Goldberg, a University of Stellenbosch graduate with commerce and law degrees and a master of business administration (MBA), said that if the Eastern Cape could create industrial development zones (IDZs) with relaxed legislation compliances, it should also be possible to create hubs of low-skilled job opportunities in manufacturing.
lBookings for the Daily Dispatch Strategic Business Summit at the Venue, Hemingways, from 8.30am to 3.30pm on Thursday June 15, can be made by calling 043-702-2064 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets cost R200 and include lunch and refreshments.