EC remains epicentre of unemployment crisis

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
Leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature

The devastating economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent enforced lockdown continues to be reflected in the latest unemployment figures contained in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey statistics, released today.

The Eastern Cape remains the jobs slaughterhouse of the country. It is the epicentre of the virus, the epicentre of corruption and now continues to be the epicentre of unemployment in South Africa.

The provincial unemployment figures are the worst in the country, shooting up from 36.9% in the 2nd quarter, to 45,8% in the 3rd quarter, with the expanded unemployment figure at 51,2%, which is slightly down from the 52,8% last quarter.

Year on year the province has lost over a 190,000 jobs.

This is in sharp contrast to the neighbouring DA-run Western Cape, which has the lowest rates in the country, with an unemployment rate of just 21,6% and expanded unemployment rate of 29,1%.

The dramatic uptick in the unemployment rate, compared to the last quarter, shows that people have started looking for work again as lockdown restrictions have eased, but most are simply not finding employment.

Even more devastating is how unemployment is impacting the rural areas of our province, with the unemployment rate a staggering 51,3% for the 3rd quarter, and expanded unemployment rate at a shocking 58,2%.

If we are to attract investment and grow our economy, we need to build a capable state in this province. A capable state is one which creates the right environment for the private sector to operate and create jobs.

This means the provision of reliable electricity and water supplies, as well as a functioning transport infrastructure network, and the cutting of red tape.

Note to editors: You can download a sound clip in English from Bobby Stevenson, MPL.