Opposition political parties in the Free State, especially the DA and the EFF, have expressed dismay with the ever-rising unemployment figure in the province. Statistics South Africa Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2018 (July to September) continued to paint a bleak future, showing that the Free State has the highest unemployment rate in the country.Released on Wednesday (31/10), the report showed that the unemployment rate in South Africa increased to 27,2% in the second quarter, and is currently at 36,3%. If discouraged job seekers are included, this increases to 41,5%.According to the two opposing parties, the high unemployment figure is signalling that government was kaput.Patricia Kopane, the DA’s Free State Premier candidate, blames the inability of all spheres of government under the ANC. “The collapse of governance in the Free State at provincial and municipal levels contributes significantly to the high unemployment in the province. “The poor audit outcomes of both the provincial government and municipalities are indicative of the administrative and financial decay in the Free State. “This has impacted negatively on their ability to deliver the most basic of services,” said Kopane.She pointed out that testimony to the collapse of governance in the Free State is the failure to deliver basic services. “Where the DA governs, we have a track record of creating an enabling environment for employment creating investment. “This is evident in the fact that last year 75% of all new jobs in South Africa emanated from the DA-run Western Cape,” said Kopane.Mandisa Makesini, the EFF’s provincial leader, said, “We are not surprised because we know that this high rate of unemployment is a result of systematic corruption, maladministration, economic mismanagement and incompetence by the ANC government over the past 25 years. “Truth be told, the ANC-led government in the province does not have a plan of tackling unemployment beyond the exploitative Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) temporary jobs.”Meanwhile, a recent effort to curb on the high unemployment rate in the Free State saw the launch of a programme, worth R50 million to revitalise the Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park in Qwaqwa. The initiative was launched on Tuesday, 30 October, and is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry. The deputy minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe, said the launch marked the completion of the first phase of the revitalisation of the industrial park in the former homeland which was once the hub of education and entrepreneurship from the 1980s till the mid-1990s. It is now part of the Thabo Mofutsanyana District. Magwanishe said revival of the Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park was intended to respond to the rampant unemployment in the Free State. “For this year, the minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, announced that R216 million has been set aside for the revitalisation of industrial parks. “Phuthaditjhaba is one of the five industrial parks that stands to benefit as we will be proceeding with the other phases of revitalisation,” he said.