The economy of the Eastern Cape remains in the doldrums as reflected by the increase in the unemployment rate in the province from 28.2 percent in the third quarter of 2016, to 28.4 percent in the fourth quarter (Oct-Dec 2016), according to the quarterly labour force statistics released by Statistics South Africa today. The expanded unemployment rate remains the same, at 41.3 percent.
The big shock is the extent to which unemployment has increased in Buffalo City, up from 28.1 percent to 33.4 percent. In actual numbers, this means 26 000 more people were unemployed, up from 93 000 to 119 000. Infighting and mismanagement impact negatively on job creation.
There is much better news in the DA-run Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, where the unemployment rate went down from 31.8 percent in the third quarter to 29.6 percent in the fourth quarter. In real terms, this related to 4 000 fewer people who were unemployed. This is a positive reflection on the changes that the DA is making in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Young people are the most affected by unemployment with over 60% being without a job. One of the steps needed to turn our economy around is to ensure our young people are equipped with skills that can get them jobs. This means that we need to fix our education system.
We need to create a climate in this province that is conducive to attracting investment. Only the private sector can create jobs. We need a province of entrepreneurs. The government must do its bit by eradicating corruption, fixing the infrastructure, improving safety, delivering services and governing well.
We all deserve a province that works, where opportunity is rising and hope for the future is created. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Shadow MEC for Finance