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SA: Nathi Mthethwa: Address by Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, on the upcoming Social Cohesion Compact Convention (05/02/2020)

6th February 2020

Good morning ladies and gentlemen
Members of the media

Thank you for attending this media briefing.

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Our Department of Arts and Culture will host a National Social Cohesion Compact Convention tomorrow at the Saint George Hotel in Irene. As government we recognise the value of a stronger social compact in the development of our country.

The National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030 challenges all of us as a society to work collectively to build a strong social compact that would assist in dealing with the key challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.  The NDP advocates for a social compact that will contribute substantially creating the necessary Political, Economic, Social condition for sustainable development.  It envisages that the resultant accord will be reflective of the diverse views of our society through public-wide consultations.

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At the core of this social compact, all sectors are expected to make firm commitments that will expand the social wage for the poor. For instance, government is expected to invest more on social and economic infrastructure and deliver an expanding social wage to the poor, while business should take a longer term perspective by investing more, and increasing employment and training. Meanwhile, Labour is called upon to recognise that some wage moderation is required and efforts to raise productivity are essential. 

Although the NDP is focused on the compact between government, labour and business, the material conditions of our country dictates that other sectors of society need to play a role in the advancement of social cohesion and nation building. In essence, this implies that government, labour, and business cannot on their own drive the country to a social cohesive society.

Government is also aware that the social compact has to have a strong component that addresses issues around equal opportunities, inclusion and redress. We are of the view that a social cohesion intervention that does not recognise and seek to bridge past divisions and simultaneously deal with the whole question of improving the material conditions of previously marginalized communities, mainly black and poor, cannot succeed.

Government has already made great strides in this regard, with more targeted focus on the youth in terms of education, training and skills development.  The latest presidential initiative, the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme is one of the flagship interventions which form part of the commitment made by government so far, in addressing the skills deficit among the youth and also dealing with Youth Unemployment.

Tomorrow’s National Social Cohesion Compact Convention was preceded by a series of consultations that were held directly with various stakeholder during the financial year 2019/2020. These stakeholder include among others Business formations, Civil Society, the Youth of our country, Labour, Media, Women, people with disabilities and traditional authorities.

In the consultation process four key themes emerged which will guide the discussions during the National Soocial Cohesion Compact, namely: 

We believe that these themes will assist us to move close to an inclusive working social compact that will contribute in growing our country. We are grateful that a variety of critical stakeholders from our diverse society have confirmed their participations at the Convention and we look forward to a more nuanced discussion.

We would also be grateful if members of the media could join us for the convention and assist to mobilise society to become part of the conversation. This conversation will lead to the signing of a social compact accord, which spells out clear roles and responsibilities for each sector to implement within a given period of time.

A social compact accord must be reflective of the broader views of our society. 

EDITED BY: Creamer Media Reporter
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