Unemployment a concern

2016-06-01 06:00

UNEMPLOYMENT in the province, according to the expanded definition (which includes discouraged job seekers), currently stands at 39,4%.

The increase in unemployment figures are as a result of the lack of commitment to create an environment that is conducive to attracting investment into the province by the ANC-led government of Premier Ace Magashule.

Out of a working age population of 1,872 million people, only 790 000 people have jobs. That leaves more than a million people economically inactive.

All economic development takes place in municipalities. The premier has claimed that many municipalities are not viable, which has basically allowed them to give up on all attempts to improve and become viable.

This is evident by the lack of interest from municipalities to attend Provincial Economic Development Forums, the lack of tourism sector plans in municipalities, the lack of interest in real local economic development and their poor attendance by provincial government tourism capacity building programmes.

The fact is that municipalities are not prioritising economic development and continue to waste taxpayers’ money on public events, like in the case of Dihlabeng, which spends millions of rands per year on public meetings and private security for councillors.

This unnecessary expenditure takes place while they are unable to pay Eskom. In Maluti-a-Phofung, extravaganzas were held while residents are without water.

It must be realised that only investment will create permanent jobs for our people. No amount of visits abroad will bring in investment while municipalities continue to display a lack of political will to create an environment that is favourable for investment.

Such an environment includes basics such as a sound infrastructure and a sustainable supply of water and electricity.

In Qwaqwa and Botshabelo, incentives will be required from municipalities to make it viable for people to reopen derelict factories.

The DA has shown that where we govern, we are able to bring down unemployment by prioritising the creation of an enabling environment for investment. That is why the Western Cape’s unemployment rate is at 23%.

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