The agricultural sector of our economy is particularly hard hit, with a 17, 8 % decline in those employed in agriculture in the Eastern Cape, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, released by StatsSA today (subs: 29 July).
Year on year there were 15 000 less people employed in agriculture. This points to the failure of state-led economic growth initiatives in this critical sector.
Although the number of employed people in the Eastern Cape has increased over the last year, by 72 000, the horrific unemployment rate in the Eastern Cape continued to creep up due to new entrants onto the job market.
When one compares the quarter April-June 2013 with April-June 2014, the unemployment rate in the Eastern Cape has gone up from 30,2% to 30,4%. The increase from the first quarter of 2014 compared to the second quarter of 2014 is one percent. The expanded rate of unemployment is now 44,4 % in the Eastern Cape, an increase of 0,2 % compared with the first quarter of this year.
In the light of the declining economy the province needs to pull out all stops to cut down on consumption expenditure and ensure that the resources we have are invested in creating a climate for economic growth.
The excessively high R429 million, spend on provincial travel and accommodation needs to be cut.
Cutting red tape, improving the efficiency of the civil service and ensuring value for money on infrastructural spending are some of the easy steps that the province can take to improve the climate for job creation.