Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The Democratic Alliance yesterday visited Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality as part of our Together For Change Tour, and we were struck by the high levels of unemployment and neglect gripping the town of Carolina and its neighbouring communities.
According to StatsSA, unemployment in Chief Albert Luthuli stands at 35,4% while youth unemployment is at 45,1%.
This should not be the case, because nestled in Carolina is the Nooitgedagt Dam nature reserve. With its picturesque setting, pristine water and ample wildlife, this reserve is surely Mpumalanga’s best kept tourism secret.
The DA believes that with proper planning and development, the reserve can be transformed into a tourism hotspot, creating hundreds of real jobs for many of the municipality’s unemployed residents.
In our manifesto, we have laid out a plan to alleviate unemployment by turning Mpumalanga’s tourism sector into a machine that creates real, sustainable jobs, while boosting the province’s economy.
A DA government would commercialise Nooitgedagt Dam nature reserve so that management of the reserve falls into private hands, enabling it to make a profit. The government would retain ownership of the reserve as it is an asset for the community living in and around it.
The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency would be left to continue its core mandate of conservation in the reserve, while a private company ensures that employees of the reserve gain valuable skills while earning an income.
The Nooitgedagt nature reserve currently has 150 EPWP workers employed by the municipality to build a road through it. These workers sat for almost 2 months before work commenced as they were waiting for uniforms and equipment. There is no skills transfer or supervision within this project and workers spend hours just loosely packing rocks along the path that is to be the road.
We will write a letter to the CEO of MTPA, Mr Jacques Modipane requesting a detailed plan to market the reserve and to boost tourism that would create employment.
The DA stands together for real jobs and will not let prime job creation opportunities fall by the wayside while unemployment continues to rise.