REACTION TO POLICY SPEECH: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS (VOTE 9)

As we slowly start climbing out of the recession it is imperative for government to create a labour intensive atmosphere to lessen the unemployment rate in the province.

A start in the right direction would have been to have seen more support for IDZs and more specifically EPZs (Export Processing Zones), where labour intensive production would be created by the slight relaxation of certain labour laws, accelerated asset depreciation and lessening of import and export duties. There is mention of some of the IDZ’s successes, but more support and national level lobbying needs to be provided to make the province more investment attractive.

While the MEC acknowledges climate change in his speech, he fails to mention the impact that the current severe drought has had on industry, and more importantly, the effect it will have on the economy in months to come.

The MEC and his department needs to call for interventions from other departments, MECs and Ministers alike to implement immediate measures such as declaring disaster areas for national disaster support and insist on the upgrading of water services infrastructure. A significant amount of water is wasted because of inadequate and badly maintained pipelines and other infrastructure.

We need to make sure that the only problem of the drought is the drought itself, not haphazard policies that ignore the infrastructural bigger picture.

For further information, please contact John Cupido, MPL on 083 336 6987