DA KZN launches plan for education reform and job creation

Sizwe Mchunu MPL

DA KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal today launched our Plan for Growth and Jobs as a first step toward building a policy platform for contesting the 2014 provincial election.

Until now, the KZN government’s attempts at job creation have been ineffective in addressing one of the country’s highest unemployment rates at 39%, which includes people who have given up looking for work.

Premier Zweli Mkhize’s Youth Ambassador programme has resulted in little more than an employment scheme for ANC Youth League activists. A commitment by the Premier to support the Western Cape in advocating for Youth Wage subsidy money to be given to provinces to rollout the programme has also proven to be an empty promise.

The Plan we are releasing today is an alternative to this approach. The full document is available here. Our plan places emphasis on improving the provincial education system, while providing support for entrepreneurs and young people entering the job market. Key job creation proposals in the plan are:

* Reforming the textbook delivery system to ensure that every child receives textbooks for each core subject in their grade on time every year. This would include ending the current contract with EduSolutions that sees millions each year being paid to this company that otherwise could be going to addressing book shortages * The building of additional classrooms at high-performing schools and the establishment of specialist maths and science schools in the province to replace the ineffective Dinaledi schools model * The establishment of a Jobs Zone in the Ethekwini metro to attract investment to the area. To attract business, the key characteristics of these Job Zones would be exemptions from labour legislation; tax and trade incentives for investors; and the prioritising of investors for preferential loans through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) * The DA would roll-out the Work and Skills programme model, successfully implemented in the Western Cape. The project would give young South Africans aged between 18 and 35 the opportunity to participate in a 12-month work experience programme. * The DA would introduce a comprehensive government internship programme across all Departments to help bridge the “study-work” divide and equip recent graduates with valuable professional skills and knowledge * Expanding hands-on support for emerging farmers by increasing the budget for mentorship programmes where successful commercial farmers partner with emerging farmers to grow their agri-businesses. * The DA would establish an independent not-for-profit economic agency to bring together public and private actors to guide the provincial economy’s development. The Economic Development Partnership (EDP) would be a membership-based organization headed by a Board of representatives. The EDP would seek to empower local and regional government, the private and non-profit sectors, and communities with the opportunity to work together to improve the local and regional economy. It would focus on enhancing competitiveness, increasing sustainable growth and ensuring that growth is inclusive.

The full plan also contains key proposals for drastically improving trade with other governments in our region as well as putting a stop to rampant public sector corruption.

We believe the policies in our Plan for Growth and Jobs offer a credible alternative for the people of KZN and we will advocate for the implementation of these plans in the coming weeks and months.

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