PORT ELIZABETH, President Cyril Ramaphosa has today chaired the sixth monthly meeting of the Presidential Working Committee (PWC) on the Jobs Summit at NEDLAC House, Johannesburg.

The working committee was established to fast-track the implementation of the agreements made at the Jobs Summit in 2018 to accelerate job creation and stem the tide of job losses and bring together leaders of government, communities, organised business and labour.

Today’s meeting received a report on South Africa’s state of preparedness as the world battles the outbreak of the coronavirus. The president is confident that South Africa’s health sector has put in place the necessary measures to manage and contain the virus should it present itself within the country.

While appreciating the work done by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to date, the president has also urged ongoing vigilance at all our ports of entry to ensure that the necessary precautions are undertaken to keep all people in South Africa safe.

The meeting further received a presentation on unlocking the economic potential of cannabis and hemp.

Updates were given on processes under way to consolidate an integrated government approach to harnessing the economic opportunities offered by hemp and cannabis.

The meeting also noted the proposed deadlines for finalising the rescheduling of hemp and cannabis, the development of a value chain and master plan, as well as reviewing the legal position and drafting a cannabis bill.

Government is confident that the cannabis/hemp sector has the prospect for significant job creation, SME development, broadening black economic empowerment as well as expanding the value chain to including processing and downstream manufacturing.

The PWC has noted the progress made towards broadcasting digital migration and the eventual analogue switch off.

The meeting noted that while a significant number of decoder stock has already been installed in households, more needed to be done to fast track the process and thus welcomed the intention to move to a hybrid approach, which would include decoders and integrated digital television sets.

This next phase of the roll out is to ensure mass availability of low cost digital decoders in the market to drive entrepreneurship and local economic development. The success of this phase will rely on collaboration with the manufacturing and retail sectors.

The meeting has urged government further accelerate this progress given the catalytic impact it, coupled with the release of high demand spectrum, will have on the economy.

Completion of this process will have a significant impact on bridging the digital divide, and easing the cost of doing business through lowering data costs.

A report on the Eskom Social Compact, which seeks to bring together all social partners in finding lasting solutions to the challenges confronting Eskom, was also tabled for discussion.

The compact demonstrates unprecedented commitment from the social partners to take actions to secure the country’s energy needs. An agreement is expected to be finalised by the end of March 2020.

The meeting has noted the progress to deliver on the commitments made to enable job creation and further highlighted the areas where social partners are effectively collaborating towards the realisation of key commitments, the statement said.

Source: African News Agency