Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, says by investing in education and training, the country will be able to develop the skills and expertise necessary to capitalise on new technologies, adjust to new industries, and successfully compete in a global economy.

Dlamini Zuma made the remarks while addressing the Eastern Seaboard Development Skills Revolution Summit on Monday.

The Summit, themed ‘From Skills Revolution to Productivity’, was held as part of the Eastern Seaboard Skills Revolution Programme that is aimed at developing a unique integration of natural, human, and capital resources within the District Municipalities of Alfred Nzo (Eastern Cape), OR Tambo (Eastern Cape), Ugu (KwaZulu-Natal) and Harry Gwala (KwaZulu-Natal).

The Summit was attended by key partners and stakeholders from multiple professional bodies; academic institutions; royal houses; faith-based organisations as well as students and learners. Also in attendance was Deputy Minister of Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Nokuzola Capa; Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Dr Reginah Mhaule; Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela, the MEC of CoGTA in the Eastern Cape, Zolile Williams and the Acting Mayor of OR Tambo, Thokozile Sokhanyile.

In a statement, the department said the summit provided delegates an opportunity to exchange ideas on how best to bring to life the vision of the Eastern Seaboard Development for ordinary communities.

“The only meaningful participation of communities in the e Eastern Seaboard will be to see that the youth are trained and acquire skills that are necessary for the development of the region. The summit confirmed that the region’s educational and skills profile is a critical success factor in the development of this smart city,” it said.

Monday’s strategic engagement, reads the statement, was “a pivotal step change and an important milestone towards ensuring that the region embrace opportunities that will accrue from the 600km Eastern Seaboard Development”.

“With the Eastern Seaboard Development being rolled out, the region will see growth. The focus brought by the Eastern Seaboard Development will enable the District to identify priority projects that will yield economic spinoffs geared towards a rapidly growing economy and building a better life for communities,” said the department.

It was in this context that there was an explicit acknowledgement that South Africa needs to join hands and minds to generate the solutions to our challenges relating the availability of skills for development. From the summit, it was therefore clear that low or no skills perpetuate poverty and inequality.

The Department said its implementing agency, Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) continues, to open doors of learning through the provision of education and bursary schemes, some which were handed over by Minister Dlamini Zuma on Monday.

“The summit agreed that development of skills can contribute to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and labor productivity and helping both people and the economy to get the relevant skill,” it said.

Minister emphasised that government should work with other stakeholders as one and not in silos guided by the DDM. The benefit of working together is the impact on the lives of communities.

Minister Dlamini Zuma further sounded a clarion call, indicating that youth must play crucial vanguard role in the struggle for economic emancipation and power by amassing relevant knowledge and skills through training that will support the growth economy and the development of our country.

“The Minister urged that both public and private sector should actively skill the youth and also provide them an opportunity to ply their skills across various sectors taking advantage of the natural endowments of the whole region,” reads the statement.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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