Limpopo aims to halve unemployment

2010-06-24 11:13

The Limpopo province has launched an Employment Growth and

Development Plan targeted at halving unemployment by 2014 – by promoting its

mining, agriculture and tourism industries.

The plan aims to ensure that the growth of the province’s economy

translates into job creation.

According to StatsSA, the province’s unemployment

rate 26.9% (first quarter, 2010).

Sam Mafadza, economic adviser to Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale,

said that Limpopo had a 3.1-million strong labour force of which two thirds were

between the ages of 15 and 34.

Adding that it was vital that the economy created

jobs for the youth, as not doing this would sow the seeds for potential


MEC for economic development, environment and tourism Pitsi Moloto,

stated that although the province’s economic strategy had delivered growth, it

had not created many jobs.

Moloto said: “We cannot have growth for the sake of growth.

For too

long we have measured growth through narrow measurements such as GDP growth and

the level of inflation, but we need to look more broadly at issues such as the

level of social development.”

Mafadza admitted that the 2004-2009 Employment Growth and

Development strategy was unable to deliver because it did not place emphasis on

employment: “The previous Provincial Growth and Development Strategy made

insufficient efforts to place the provincial economy on a sustainable

developmental path capable of delivering decent work and sustainable livelihoods

on a scale that will enable the province to achieve the target of halving

unemployment by 2014.

“Furthermore the strategy did not address severe structural

imbalances and micro-economic constraints that impede the economy from

developing to its full potential or full productive capacity.”

Development nodes

As part of the integrated industrial development programme, the

province will establish industrial development nodes around the Lephalale area,

where the Medupi power station is being built, due to start functioning by


In addition, the province wants to create new social infrastructure

including schools, housing and hospitals, bulk infrastructure projects, and

electricity and communications infrastructure.

The plan also recommends a move towards more light manufacturing

and engineering activities, while focusing on promoting industries that are more

labour intensive to reduce the unemployment rate.

Mafadza said the final part of the plan was an emphasis on the

green economy and the creation of green jobs: “Even though the Medupi power

station will be coal-fired, the province is aiming to fast track investments in

renewable energy and makes Polokwane a green city.”

Mafadza said both domestic and foreign investors are expected to

play a critical role in ensuring the full implementation of the plan.

DA leader in Limpopo, Desiree van der Walt said that the Democratic

Alliance fully supported these aims and objectives but cautioned that they

should be backed by concrete and tangible strategies: “The statistics released

recently by StatsSA dashed hopes of employment prospects in our province.

“The report shows that employment has contracted for the first

quarter of 2010 (January-March).

The national drop rate stood at 1.3% or 171 000

jobs were shed.

Limpopo accounted for a staggering 51 000 jobs between the last

quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010.

This plan must be cogent on how

it is going to reverse this trend.”

The six key

programmes are:

» Diversification of Limpopo’s

industrial base and movement towards services and light manufacturing

» Mining and mineral

beneficiation and downstream industries – development of a specific mining

competitive skills programme

» Development of the

provincial construction industry through localisation of procurement

» Accelerating industrial

development in under-developed regions

» Development of long-range

master plans for water, sewers, sanitation, electricity, housing, schools and


» Investing in renewable

energy and a zero-waste municipal plan

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