Les Labuschagne MPL
Spokesperson on Economic Development
With 1.8 million unemployed people in Gauteng the new Economic Development MEC Eric Xayiya can’t afford a very long honeymoon period and must urgently prioritise addressing Gauteng’s single biggest challenge: jobs, jobs, jobs.
The first three of the DA’s ten point priority for the MEC is therefore simple: first, jobs. Second, jobs. Third, jobs! The MEC has little over eight months to ensure his legacy is one of job creation.
The DA Gauteng plan for jobs and growth provide a very good starting point for the MEC. The document (which can be found here) outlines the DA’s plan to eradicate the barriers to job creation and economic growth and development in Gauteng.
The other, urgent priorities for the MEC must include:
- Appointing a full-time, permanent Head of Department to pull the rudderless department together. The MEC must also ensure the speedy finalisation of disciplinary action against the suspended Head of Department Khulu Radebe, who must be held accountable for the failures in youth development programmes in Gauteng.
- Filling the 25%, or one in four, vacant positions in the department. A full-time Head of Department must fill these vacancies to ensure departmental programmes are effectively run.
- Fix the chaotic Gauteng Liquor Board administration, finances and licensing system decisively, properly and thoroughly once and for all. Missing files, incompetence, bad audits and illegal licences are not acceptable.
- Inject energy and creativity into Gauteng’s tourism industry. Tourism creates more jobs than the mining industry but Gauteng Tourism is not capitalising on its assets as it should. The holiday season is on the horizon and “how ready is Gauteng?”
- Draw in business because they know business and they know jobs. The MEC must be confident enough to approach and partner with private business in Gauteng to review the department’s policies and seriously consider their practical suggestions to create jobs.
- Cut the red tape suffocating new and existing businesses in Gauteng and strangling job creation. Businesses, big and small, are buckling under the regulatory burden, while new entrants who can create jobs are loathe to do so because of the administrative burden. The message is simple cut red tape and save and create jobs in Gauteng!
- Finally, the MEC must ensure that the informal sector and its traders are seen and treated as legitimate, full members of the economy who are no longer subject to harassment by local officials and plagued by the insecurity of their tenure and livelihoods.
The DA challenges the MEC to deliver on his department’s most basic mandate to ensure that every person in Gauteng has the opportunity to get a job and get ahead in life.