South Africa’s problems are legion but relatively easy to fix, according to several guest speakers at the Leaderex convention in Sandton this week. All it requires is political will.

There were some truly amazing stories that never make the headlines: for example, Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville of Yes4Youth explained how her organisation had created more than 22,000 new jobs for young South Africans in the last nine months, earning them more than R1 billion in salaries and wages, and giving them a crucial foothold in the formal economy. The plan is to create 100,000 new job opportunities over the next year, and ultimately 1 million jobs, by partnering with companies to provide minimum wage jobs at R3,500 a month and building a CV for the new job entrants that vastly improve their chances of finding permanent employment in the economy at the end of the 12 month engagement. Businesses that partner with Yes4Youth can increase their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) levels by up to two steps depending on their level of participation in the programme.

If one organisation can create 100,000 new jobs – with tax and B-BBEE benefits flowing to the partner companies – imagine what could be done if a dozen such organisations were to take on the challenge of creating jobs for the youth, said Ismail-Saville.

Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership SA, said business had the ear of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was determined to leave a legacy of trust in the country’s public sector and a thriving economy capable of absorbing millions of new entrants to the job market.

Tourism is one of the sectors – the “low hanging fruit” – that could quickly ramp up job creation and economy activity, said Mohale. It didn’t help that just down the road, xenophobic attacks against foreigners had broken out in parts of Johannesburg and made its way into the international press.

A key area of concern for foreign investors is the plan to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. “There is no need to amend the Constitution,” said Mohale. “The law as it stands allows for this. One way to defuse the situation is for business to get behind land reform by releasing tracts of land for development and housing.” Read more on Accounting Weekly.