Five steps to job creation can realise government’s promises

2016-02-17 06:00

ANDREW LOUW, DA provincial leader:

THE Democratic Alliance welcomes the commitment of the Northern Cape ANC to take the issue of job creation seriously.

It is good that they have finally begun to listen to what the DA has been saying all along about the need for the creation of an environment that is conducive to the creation of jobs, and the need to streamline government services by reducing the amount of consultants being paid to do the officials’ jobs.

It remains to be seen if the ANC has the will to follow through on its statements.

In the 2015 State of the Province Address, the premier promised that government would work with civil society to create 18 000 jobs in one year.

Sadly, the quarterly labour force surveys show that this did not come to pass. In the first two quarters alone, the province suffered job losses amounting to 24 000. The net gain of 6 000 jobs in the third quarter did not compensate for this immense blow to the provincial economy.

The DA believes we need to improve access to economic opportunities, and we need to remove barriers to labour market entry.

There are five key steps which need to be taken.

Firstly, we need to invest in integrated energy, transport and ICT infrastructure. Business cannot be done when municipalities’ lights are switched off or when the internet is so slow that it might as well be non-existent.

Secondly, we need to give more people the education and skills they need to get a job. There is a discrepancy between the skills available on the job market and the skills required for jobs available. We need to increase the number of skilled labourers, like plumbers or electricians.

Thirdly, there needs to be a reform of the rigid labour regime to support job creation.

Fourthly, we need to provide direct incentives to businesses to create jobs, such as the implementation of a proper youth wage subsidy which benefits both the employer and the employee.

Lastly, and of specific importance to the Northern Cape, is the need to create a nation of entrepreneurs. The Economic Growth and Development Fund of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism must become a vehicle of support for all entrepreneurs, irrespective of their political or personal connections. It cannot be that support is given only to those who are married to MECs or chairpersons of committees or who are relatives of politicians in the ANC.

If implemented with the necessary will and commitment to uphold the interests of the public, these five simple steps can easily translate into the creation of the jobs needed to make the Northern Cape economy thrive.

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