Frank Nxumalo, SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) News, December 11, 2008
Affirmative action and employment equity policies will not be allowed to stand in the way of municipalities and local authorities hard hit by skills shortages, the African National Congress (ANC) said after meeting the leadership of The Afrikaans Handelsintitut (AHI).
The ANC said there were at least 70 municipal authorities in the country without a single engineer or artisan. “South Africa is running so short of skills that affirmative action cannot realistically be considered an issue, “Gwede Mantashe, the general secretary of the African National Congress said.
“Important statistics show that unless we produce at least 2400 a year we are not going to cope with the skills shortages in the country”. Mantashe said compounding the skills crisis in South Africa today was that the country was saddled with a rapidly ageing artisan population with an average age of 54 years and practically no decent national programmes of training younger people are in place.
Mantashe said the main purpose of meeting the AHI was to build both an inclusive South African society and a national vision of where the country was to go rather than an ANC vision of South Africa. AHI President Venete Klein said her organisation had a broad range of hard skills that could contribute directly in alleviating the skills and business management crisis in most municipalities in the country.
“We have got a lot of skills that could add a lot of value in the areas of housing, healthcare, finance and many other critical areas,” Klein said. “If we join hands and work together, success will to the benefit of all South Africa”.