The government will aggressively protect the construction industry in South Africa to save jobs the minister for Economic Development Ebrahim Patel has announced.
Presenting a state of the economy since the labour federation’s last congress in 2012, Mr Patel said that the government has imposed tariff increases on construction imports to save South African jobs.
The minister was speaking while addressing scores of delegates at the Congress of South African Trade Unions in Midrand.
He said since the last Cosatu congress, 1.2 million jobs have been created and 1.8 million people have entered the job market. Sectors that have created the most jobs are construction, government and business; however the manufacturing sector has recorded job losses.
The South African government in August announced a conditional 10% levy on certain imported steel products to save the ailing steel industry, which is taking strain from cheap imports mainly from China. Governments usually use tariffs to protect domestic employment, consumers and to shield infant industries.
Patel said focus on jobs should be in key areas such as infrastructure development, industrialization, innovation, inclusion of workers and small businesses and the integration into the rest of the African economy.
With the rest of Africa being a key destination for some of the products made in South Africa, job creation has become a priority for the government. In this regards protecting construction industry in South Africa has emerged to be of major importance to the government.