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Newly-appointed Minister of Employment and Labour meets with his new Administration

by lloyd last modified 2019-06-10 10:24


The “new dawn” set in this week when the newly-appointed Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi, hit the ground running when he took time to meet with his new departmental team.

Minister Nxesi met with senior managers and staff members of his new portfolio for a meet and greet session yesterday (6 June), following the first interaction with departmental branch heads. This meeting sought to pave a roadmap into the new dawn of his administration.

Honourable Nxesi served as a Minister for various portfolios inclusive of Public Works, Sports and Recreation and Rural Development as a Deputy Minister. He is  a former Secretary General of SA Democratic Teachers Union and was a former teacher by profession.

In his address Nxesi paid tribute to the former Minister Mildred Oliphant and her Deputy, Honourable Phathekile Holomisa saying, he acknowledges their sterling work over the years.

“Minister Oliphant was a real sister to me. At the level of work in relation to Public Works and this department, she was always there.”

Nxesi said listening to the Department of Employment and Labour Director-General, Thobile Lamati’s briefing, the top management and the meeting with the former Minister for an official handover, he felt that there are no new policies but rather, to build on the work of those who went before us.

“What I will not do, is to come here and change things especially at the policy level. There is a weakness that whenever there is a new minister there are new programs. This is as if, these people are not coming from the same policy background where we are supposed to be guided by the same policy. This does not mean that when we see weaknesses in a particular area we cannot call for a review”, emphasised Nxesi.

He says while politicians and ministers come and go, the institutional knowledge and wisdom of the department remains in the custodianship of the public servants led by the people who actually implement and get the work done.

Looking at the dire economic challenges, the falling rand and failing gross domestic product, and high rate of unemployment, Nxesi says this is the time to be proactive. “It becomes necessary or if it becomes necessary, we will have to see where we contain costs. But more important, how can we mitigate the effects of the likely rise of unemployment” added Nxesi.

He called on everyone to follow suit on President Ramaphosa’s call on the need for departments to collaborate and align their efforts in making South Africa a better place for all.

He says addressing the unemployment crisis will require a societal mobilization, involving all the stakeholders well beyond this specific department. “As a department we are far from helpless. There are resources available that could be better utilized. There are current programs which could be up scaled. There may be past programs which need to be revived. So this is what I’m asking of the DDG’s and heads of the various programs, to point to the areas where we can make gains in terms of employment creation and intensive training and retraining. We have to cut the red tapes, improve the operations of the labour market especially for the small businesses”, said Nxesi.

Talking on the implications of the name change, Nxesi says this is a conversation that is still going to be debated. “The president is still going to elaborate further on his thinking around the reconfiguration of the department. And I imagine this process will come to act with the upcoming SONA which is scheduled for the 20th of June”, Nxesi told the staff.


Issued by:

Mokgadi Pela

Acting Department of Labour Spokesperson

082 808 2168

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