South Africa’s declining ranking in global competitiveness cannot simply be brushed aside – Labour Deputy Minister Nkosi Holomisa

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

Although the South African economy had mixed fortunes in the past decades, in the period between 1975-2012, it experienced the biggest declines in the overall performance, however, there are indications that the economy was on a recovery path. 

Productivity SA Chief Economist, Keneuoe Mosoang tabling the summary results of the 2013 Productivity Report said productivity was not about how hard people work – but what was important was the ability of the economy to produce more with the same or less inputs.

Mosoang was speaking in Midrand, Gauteng during the launch by Productivity SA’s Productivity Month and the unveiling of the 2013 Productivity Statistics Report.

The report was based on data derived from sources such as the Stats SA’s gross domestic products, figures from the reserve bank and other stats and research agencies. 

Mosoang said most sectors of the economy were showing a strong propensity towards capital-intensive means of production and this started deepening in 1994. She said the picture was becoming pronounced also in sectors such as construction, mining and electricity. She said all sectors were also faced with high unit labour cost.

She said the average annual growth rate pre-1994, showed there was a general contraction across all industries. However, post-1994 there has been an economic expansion.

According to Mosoang the mining sector needed to improve its business efficiency. She said the transport sector, although it was experiencing worsening unit labour costs it continues to steam ahead in growth, and was one sector experiencing jobless growth.

She said the electricity sector continues to incur high unit labour costs compounded by inefficiencies.

According to Mosoang although growth in the financial and agriculture sector slowed down in 2013 – the two sectors were showing a good promise of good times ahead.

Labour Deputy Minister, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa said amidst the challenges faced by the country, the bottom line was that South Africa faces a myriad of challenges and one of the areas that required attention was the issue of unemployment.

“The release of the statistics is a pathway to understanding which areas in our economy need urgent intervention thereby, ensuring adequate support for the National Development Plan,” Holomisa said.

Holomisa also took an opportunity to launch the productivity month which start on October 1. This year’s theme is: “Productivity is everybody’s business”. The celebration of the month will see a number of workshops in different provinces and regional awards events being held. This is expected to culminate with the National Productivity Awards Gala on 30 October.

“Productivity affects the entire nation, therefore improving awareness means changing culture and behaviour.

“I therefore, reiterate the importance of organisations, companies, government departments to instil a culture of productivity, a culture of efficiency at the workplace,” Holomisa said.