Why should the Eastern Cape be the exporter of skills - Minister Pravin Gordhan

BY NATALI IVERSON - SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

Speaking at the first-ever Emerging Views On The Eastern Cape Economy: Conference For Emerging Scholars and Post-Graduate Students which was hosted at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) North Campus on Tuesday, Minster for Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan, challenged young people to gain skills and leadership to ensure that those skills benefit the provincial economy.

The conference saw several political leaders including Eastern Cape MEC for Finance and Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Sakhumzi Somyo, and scholars from the Eastern Cape’s tertiary institutions – the NMMU, Rhodes University, Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu University, coming together to debate and discuss issues affecting the provincial economy.

In his keynote speech, Minister Gordhan said that education and skills development are good for the economy, as this would create more “opportunities for better economic planning”.

“Education is important. The level of skills that we have in a society, does decide what kind of economic enterprises can we rise to, how wide spread those enterprises can be and what opportunities will be offered to people at the end of the day.

“We need to make sure that future generations get the opportunity to grow as individuals and to fulfill their given potential and thereby raise the possibilities that South Africa has to offer itself, economically and socially speaking, as well,” he urged.

He also said that local government has a critical role to play in skills development from which it can also draw benefits.

“It is in this kind of context where we ask the question about municipalities, which is my new responsibility, and I see a very direct relationship between the applied research and political analysis, which some of you are now engaged in and I’m sure many more are, and what it could offer as better opportunities for better economic planning, enable decision makers in all parts of South Africa and certainly in the Eastern Cape,” said the Minister.

He, however, said that there are issues that need to be addressed within municipalities such as the lack of job opportunities and poor service delivery adding that municipalities would improve if they followed solid budgeting and proper planning.

Gordhan, who studied business and economic sciences at NMMU, said that the conference was an opportunity for delegates to ask tough questions about the Eastern Cape and its economy.

“Why is the Eastern Cape an ‘exporter’ of skilled people who move to other parts of the country and we are unable to absorb them here? Why is there such a harsh distinction between the eastern parts of the Eastern Cape and the western parts of the Eastern Cape? These are useful and imperative facts that should enable us to ask some tough questions,” he said.

Speaking to the post-graduates, Minister Gordhan said that students are an important force for change.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is, where is the force for change in South Africa and how is it connecting with the real South Africa,” he said.

 Photo caption: Minster for Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan, speaking at the first-ever Emerging Views On The Eastern Cape Economy: Conference For Emerging Scholars and Post-Graduate Students which was hosted at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) North Campus on Tuesday.