The international community should protect workers against the rising tide of unemployment through universal social protection, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.The president said this when he addressed the virtual International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa, who is also the African Union chairman, said: “We have to invest in people’s capabilities, in skills development, in lifelong learning, in workplace inclusivity and in advancing gender equality.”
He said: “As we strive to recover from this coronavirus pandemic, let us continue to be guided by the spirit of solidarity to ensure that we put people and their welfare at the centre of all our efforts.”
“Most importantly, all our responses to this pandemic should leave no one behind,” he said, adding that the pandemic had given an “added impetus for the goal of making workplaces more agile, more adaptable and safer.”
He said that “as we collectively look to the future, we have an immense task before us to rebuild our shattered lives and economies.
“In so many respects, this pandemic has forced change of a transformational kind upon us, change that would otherwise have been gradual and slow.”
Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of transforming domestic policy frameworks to support the creation of decent and sustainable work.
“The whole world is in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis. But within it lies the seeds of opportunity to deliver greater economic security, equal opportunity and social justice for those who work, for those who have lost work and for those who are looking for work.” NM/APA