NEED TO TURN THIS PROVINCE AROUND

WITH reference to the article, “Trade union membership drops” (The Herald, November 7), the unemployment rate in the Eastern Cape remains too high. The province has the second highest unemployment rate of the country’s provinces at 30.8%, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa last week.

This was the same figure as in the previous quarter. Only the Free State fared worse in the third quarter, where the unemployment rate is 34%.

The Eastern Cape is caught in a vicious downward spiral where people are leaving the province because of a lack of job prospects. The result is that our equitable share is cut.

This is a double blow to the Eastern Cape as we lose talent on the one hand and the necessary funds to improve quality of life in the province on the other.

Drastic action is needed to turn the situation around.

Year-on-year, the Eastern Cape had the highest increase in unemployment, of 2%. Rampant corruption and the consequences of cadre deployment are scaring off potential investors.

Anger with the current government is increasing as people feel that one needs to be connected to get a job, especially in the civil service.

The Eastern Cape has the highest expanded unemployment rate, of 44.3%. The expanded unemployment rate includes people who have given up on looking for work, which represents 1.059 million people (aged 15 to 65).

Getting a job is the most important step on the ladder of opportunity. It enables one to get ahead in life and escape the poverty trap.

What the Eastern Cape needs is strong political leadership to turn this province around.

Three crucial steps must be implemented to improve job prospects: quality in the education system; enhancing youth employment prospects by implementing the youth wage subsidy; and creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs by cutting red tape and corruption, and delivering basic services at attractive rates.

We need to optimise existing economic opportunities in the province. The recent labour unrest in the motor industry is a serious disincentive for foreign direct investment.

Bobby Stevenson, MPL

DA Shadow MEC for Finance, Bhisho