KZN govt aims to invest in jobs to avoid repeat of xeno attacks

2015-05-13 09:06
Mike Mabuyakhulu

Mike Mabuyakhulu (City Press)

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KWAZULU-NATAL needs to invest, grow the economy and create jobs so that the horror scenes of xenophobic attacks witnessed a few weeks ago are never repeated.

That was the directive from members of the provincial Legislature yesterday, speaking when Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu tabled his budget of R2,9 billion for the 2015/16 financial year.

NFP MP Sipho Mdakane said: “With reference to the heartless and barbaric xenophobic attacks, it is evident that people are angry and suspicious of the government because of broken promises.

“Our people have the perception that foreigners and friends of politicians exclusively enjoy the resources and are given special treatment. South Africans feel sidelined in the case of ­democracy and they also have feelings of being robbed of their right to employment,” he said.

Mdakane said the government ­needed to intervene in the economy and grow jobs. “Once you do that, we won’t experience the stupidity of the xenophobic attacks again.”

Mabuyakhulu said the province was making inroads in the fight against joblessness. He said over the years, the province had been able to create a million jobs.

He said the unemployment rate had decreased across the country, and KwaZulu-Natal had recorded the highest decrease.

The MEC also announced a string of investment opportunities, including in alternative energy projects, and plans by the province to participate in the mooted plan to create black industrialists.

“The demand for more energy means that as a province we have to place issues of energy security and restoring generation capacity at the pinnacle of our development effort.

“As a province, we are lagging behind in renewable energy generation and have had little success … with only one project coming from KwaZulu-Natal which is a 16,7 mW biomass initiative on the North Coast.

“The fixed correlation between the average growth in electricity demand and that of economic growth rates, which in the province’s case is predicted to be between five percent and six percent, means that we require between 400 mW and 600 mW more electricity each year to meet our growth target,” said Mabuyakhulu.

He said securing and ensuring ­alternative energy supply in KwaZulu-Natal is a crucial intervention that needs to be made.

He said there were discussions with various parties about installing an 800 mW gas-to-power plant in ­Richards Bay.

A local company, Byromate (PTY) Ltd, would also establish a 60 mW biomass electricity generation plant in Mhlathuze, an investment value of about R2 billion, which would create about 260 construction jobs and 70 permanent jobs.

Speaking on the plan to create black industrialists, Mabuyakhulu said the provincial government would set aside R100 million to contribute towards the activation of the black industrialists development programme

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