Jobs, Environment not priorities for EC ANC

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The Eastern Cape ANC has made it abundantly clear that creating jobs and preserving the environmental integrity of the Eastern Cape is not a concern, after rejecting a DA motion to host a summit around job creation through the adoption of environmentally friendly alternatives.

In rebuttal of the motion, ANC MPL and Chairperson of the Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Portfolio Committee, Pumelele Ndamase, stated categorically that the ANC rejected the motion “with the contempt that it deserves.”

It is hard to fathom why hosting a summit to pursue the creation of jobs in a province, where unemployment under the current administration has soared from 36,5% to 45,8%, is worthy of contempt.

It is hard to understand why the pursuit of environmentally friendly activities that will address the reduction of plastic waste through creating innovative alternatives to single-use plastic items, which will in return reduce pressure on landfill sites, is worthy of contempt.

It is also hard to understand why the restoration of our once pristine environment is deemed worthy of contempt, especially as Ndamase himself concedes that towns across the province are filthy!

A capable state would be actively engaging with all role-players, to remove barriers of entry to new, environmentally friendly alternatives that create sustainable jobs.

Forward-thinking governments which adopt green technologies and clean energy technologies, such as the DA-led Western Cape and Kouga Municipality right here in the Eastern Cape, continue to create jobs, stabilise energy supply, clean up the environment and unlock opportunities that allow people to live lives of value.

Ndamase’s rationale is the blind belief that the ANC-led government has already been doing this, but the reality is that they have not. The ruling party has no real plans in place to either create sustainable jobs or deal with the environmental challenges our province is facing.

If they did, the provincial environmental law enforcement and conservation posts would not have a vacancy rate of 40%.

If the Good Green Deeds programme, drop off and buy-back centres, were working, why are our local municipalities being swallowed by waste? Refuse removal is almost non-existent in most towns. Illegal dumping is rife, posing real health risks to residents.

The Democratic Alliance believes that a summit focusing on job creation through the adoption of environmentally friendly alternatives is critical, and Mayor Horatio Hendricks in the DA-led Kouga municipality has already agreed in principle to hosting such a summit at local government level.

The DA believes the people of the Eastern Cape deserve forward-thinking leadership that put them first, as opposed to those who only have contempt for them.