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Motlanthe: Green economy in SA needs to grow

Motlanthe: Green economy in SA needs to grow(By Karyn Maughan via IOL)The government has set itself a six-month deadline to implement a

multi-billion rand plan aimed at creating 500,000 jobsand protecting

millions from unemployment and poverty.Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is adamant South Africa's attempt to

lessen the impact of the current economic crisis is not out of reach.The man who led the Presidency's efforts to negotiate a response from

labour, business and the state to the global financial crisis said on

Monday that the strategy to save and create jobs, improve unemployment

benefits and increase investment in local businesses was "achievable".He stressed that the government and its social partners were focused on

creating and saving jobs because "job losses do not just affect one person;

they affect families and communities".Motlanthe said the task teams appointed by the Presidential Economic Joint

Working Group in February to address the economic crisis were "buckling

down" to develop "action plans" on how to implement the strategy President

Jacob Zuma promised would create 500 000 jobs by year-end.Central to the ambitious plan is the government's three-year commitment to

fund public works development to the tune of R787-billion, as well as to

provide R10bn towards a National Jobs Initiative.According to the Framework for South Africa's Response to the International

Economic Crisis published by the government, the new jobs would include

"expanding and improving the road and rail networks, public transport, and

port operations, dams, water and sanitation infrastructure, housing

construction ... ICT and energy-generation capacity as well as education

and health infrastructure".The framework also proposes that the work days created by this "urgent"

Expanded Public Works Programme "will be distributed among 4,5 million

recipients over the five-year period between 2009 and 2014".It states that "1 million unemployed youths, women and disabled people will

be targeted in public employment programmes directed at socially useful

activities".Motlanthe told the International Labour Conference in Geneva, where he was

to speak on "Managing the national agenda in times of crisis" today, that

the mooted new employment opportunities created by the government would

also include "green jobs"."The Department of Science and Technology is developing a strategy for a

programme to create large numbers of 'green jobs', in industries and

facilities designed to mitigate the effects of climate change," he said.Motlanthe on Monday said the "green jobs" initiative was one way in which

the global economic crisis "can be utilised to move us away from

well-established business practices that are harmful"."We believe that the green economy in South Africa needs to grow," he said.Asked about the Presidential Economic Joint Working Group's plans to hold

urgent meetings with "businesses in distress", Motlanthe said these

sessions had already taken place within the textile industry and had

resulted in multiple companies, and jobs, being saved.For the very latest in green jobs in South Africa and globally please click