JOB LOSS BOMBSHELL FOR EASTERN CAPE

The fact that employment in the Eastern Cape has dropped by 46 000 according to statistics released by Statistics SA yesterday, (subs: Tuesday, 8 May 2012) when one compares the first quarter of January-March 2011 to the period January-March 2012, is devastating news for the Eastern Cape.

This is going to have a shattering impact on those families who are dependent on the 46 000 breadwinners who have lost their jobs. The knock-on effect will be felt throughout the Eastern Cape. A job is the best passport out of poverty and we need more jobs, not less, if we are to redress the injustices of the past.

The biggest drop in all the provinces occurred in the Eastern Cape where employment declined by 3.5% from 1.325 million people to 1.279 million people. Unemployment now stands at 28.3% and when one takes the expanded definition of unemployment into account, it is 43.1%.

This is very bad news and comes on the back of other recent surveys illustrating poor service delivery in the Eastern Cape. (** See Stats SA General Household Survey 2011 underneath).

This clearly indicates that the government’s approach to job creation is simply not working. The Democratic Alliance believes that our youth wage subsidy proposal needs to be implemented as a matter of urgency, which would result in 400 000 new jobs for young people being created in the country. Red tape needs to be cut and one needs labour market reform. SMMEs need better support. Our industrial development zones need to be better incentivised and turned into export processing zones, which have generated tens of thousands of jobs worldwide where they are established.

Provincially we cannot afford to waste a single cent on corruption, maladministration and tender irregularities when these resources could have been more adequately used for job creation activities. An analysis of provincial government expenditure budgets over the last three years shows that the lowest increases occurred in the economic cluster of our province.

What we need in the Eastern Cape is the right environment for job creation. This means an efficient and effective administration, sound infrastructure and a decent education system.

Until the ANC turns its back on factional politics and puts the people first, the Eastern Cape will continue to suffer and the people will be poorer for it. Only strong and courageous leadership can turn this province around.

** Stats SA General Household Survey 2011. The province has:

• the most grant beneficiaries;

• most households without flush toilets;

• worst piped water access;

• highest number of children not attending schools because “education is useless”.