New solutions needed to fix unemployment in Eastern Cape

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

The latest unemployment figures, released today, show that the Eastern Cape still has the highest levels of unemployment in the country. It is clear that we need new solutions if we are to create new hope.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey statistics, for the period between July and September 2021, have revealed that the Eastern Cape’s unemployment rose to 47.3%, while the expanded unemployment rate is sitting at 54.5%.

Government needs to lead if it is to create the environment for businesses to stay, invest and create jobs so people can live a life of value.

A new approach is particularly urgent in light of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, and the impact it is having on the tourism industry.

We can’t afford a tired provincial government that keeps doing the same old things, expecting different results.

To remain competitive, the Eastern Cape needs to build a province of rising opportunity for all. Hope can be created for a better future, by taking the following steps:

  • We need to maintain tight control of the provincial wage bill so that the funding that we have can be directed towards the core delivery business of government;
  • There needs to be a shift away from consumption expenditure to expenditure on infrastructure, such as fixing our dilapidated roads network;
  • Government needs to ensure municipalities deliver quality services, such as conducting the necessary maintenance to keep the electricity and taps flowing, along with drought mitigation measures;
  • Steps need to be taken to improve the climate of safety and security in the province so that people want to live and work here;
  • Projects need to be implemented that will create energy independence from Eskom, to mitigate against costly load shedding.

We need to embrace bold and new ideas and dismantle old ideological boundaries. One such idea is turning the Coega area into an export processing zone, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs.

One only has to take a drive past any post office to witness the desperation on the faces of the people, with thousands queueing to receive an R350 Covid-relief grant.

We need real solutions that will change the face of the Eastern Cape, creating jobs and a better future for all residents of this beautiful province.