The big jump in the unemployment rate for the Eastern Cape is a bitter blow, the pain of which will be felt in people’s stomachs as they battle to put food on the table.
According to the Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate is up from 27.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 28.6% and the expanded unemployment rate now stands at 44.5%, up from 40.3% in the previous quarter.
The focus of local and provincial government must be to ensure job creation is prioritised. Our cities and towns must be drivers of job-creating growth. Local government and provincial government must create an environment where businesses want to invest and entrepreneurs can thrive.
We need to make the starting and growing of businesses easier because we know that businesses are the engine of job creation. They can jump-start our province’s economy and provide the jobs we need to move forward again.
At local government level, we need to make the changes that will eliminate excessive red tape and ensure rezonings and planning approvals take place speedily. One-stop shops also need to be set up to assist investors.
The Eastern Cape can be a province of rising opportunity for all. We need to restore dignity and hope by creating real opportunity that is uncorrupted by patronage politics.
With the right policies and the right people, we can introduce the change that will move this province forward again.