CSDA Director Prof Lauren Graham participated as a panellist at the recent Sunday Times 2023 Directors Event, which discussed how South African businesses are performing in terms of sustainability and where to go from here. The panel discussion focused on social impact and what that means for business.
Prof Graham spoke about some of the current policies that are in place at the moment that should be leveraged she said “We do have leverage points in government that we are perhaps not making effective use of, for example, the employment tax incentive. Evidence shows that there is not a large uptake particularly amongst SMMEs as many SMMEs don’t know it exists or feel it’s too bureaucratic to apply or don’t have the human resources to apply for it. The question is how do we make these interventions more accessible to the drivers of our economy? Over 60% of employed people are employed in the SMME sector so it’s really important that we empower the sector and herein lies an opportunity for the government, private sector and civil society to work together. Another example is the skills development levy – how do businesses partner with civil society organisations who will make good skills development available to young people at the local level so that they are not faced with high fees, transport costs to get to university etc. but are able to access a good skills development programme that’s in their local community and businesses are then able to draw those young people into jobs?”
A key message from the panel discussion was the need for the private sector and civil society to be working together and leveraging the policies we have in place to better create skills development and employment opportunities.