Government must accept private partnerships if we are to break unemployment cycle

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
DA Chief Whip in the Eastern Cape Legislature

The DA welcomes the marginal decrease in the unemployment rate for the third quarter. However, when one looks at the expanded unemployment rate, more than half of the province’s labour force is still unemployed. There is a long way to go to break the unemployment cycle.

The only way we will turn the unemployment crisis around is if the ANC changes its hostile stance towards business and accepts that they are vital partners on the road to job creation.

Instead of vilifying the private sector and entangling them in red tape, they should be seen as knights in shining armour, coming to our rescue!

Our people are battling extremely tough economic times. Rising inflation and higher interest rates are making it much harder to make ends meet.

The global economic climate continues to be constrained, and economic growth for South Africa is estimated at between just one and two per cent, which does not bode well for job creation.

The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey for July to September 2022 shows that the Eastern Cape once again has the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 42.4 %, which is down from the 42.8% recorded last quarter.

The expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who have given up looking for work, is at 50,6% (down 1.2%).

The Eastern Cape government needs to create an enabling environment that encourages investment in the region, shifting its expenditure away from consumption to infrastructure development.

Although one acknowledges that the Eastern Cape is negatively affected by the slowing down in global trade, and supply chain disruptions due to international tensions, we need to think outside the box and come up with potential game changers.

  • We need a government that is going to take bold measures to change the trajectory of the province.
  • We need to engage with businesses and enter Public Private Partnerships that will return services to the people. This is already being done in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the new coalition of good governance is actively engaging with the business sector to assist in safeguarding critical infrastructure.
  • We need to secure independent power producers to reduce the province’s dependence on Eskom and mitigate the devastating impact of extensive loadshedding.
  • We need to take proactive steps to tap into our province’s resources, such as speeding up the Umzimbumvu Water Scheme project.

Creative participation of the private sector in delivering services will build a more capable state.