The Eastern Cape needs a fundamental policy shift if we are to address the staggering unemployment crisis in this province. Unless urgent action is taken, the ANC could soon be facing its own Arab Spring!
The rising poverty, hunger and hardship that residents are suffering is going to explode at some point unless bold measures are taken to change the trajectory of the province.
We need to be engaging with businesses and entering Public Private Partnerships that will return services to the people. We need to be securing independent power producers to reduce the province’s dependence on Eskom and mitigate the devastating impact of extensive loadshedding.
We need to create an environment that makes the Eastern Cape conducive to job creation and investment.
The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, for April to June 2022, shows that the Eastern Cape once again has the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 42.8%, which is down slightly from the 44% recorded last quarter.
The expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who have given up looking for work, is at 51.8% (down 0.8%), meaning we have plateaued at an unacceptably high level.
The ANC needs to ditch its ideological straitjacket, which is holding it captive to outmoded thinking.
It has become abundantly clear that the Developmental State model has failed. State Owned Entities are collapsing, infrastructure is rotting, health is imploding, crime is rampant, and the economy is stagnating.
Where the DA is in local government, we attract investment and job creation to the area by reliably delivering quality basic services – water, sanitation, electricity, roads, and streetlights – that are fundamental operating requirements for businesses.
Government cannot create jobs, but it can create an enabling environment to encourage private sector investment that will lead to more jobs.