Malamulele economic breakdown needs urgent action

Jacques Smalle MPL

DA Limpopo Provincial Leader:

The ongoing violent service delivery protest that has brought Malamulele to its knees has deeply affected the area’s local economy. The DA believes that if the ANC in government comes to the negotiating table, a solution can be achieved that will end this economic loss.

The 9.57 square kilometres Central Business District (CBD) and other areas of economic activity in Malamulele have reported massive financial losses to the DA.

This will have a devastating effect on the lives of over 225 983 locals from more than 80 villages in the area, most of whom earn an income below R3200 p/m.

According to the Feasibility Study of the Demarcation board, 15% of the total population in Thulamela are employed while only 7% in Mlamulele have employment. Leading to the unemployment rate being greater in Malamulele at 49% against 45% in Thulamela.

The Thulamela Local Municipality’s small and poorly developed economy is dependent on the community services sector for employment. This sector accounts for 20,360 jobs. Trade is the second major source of employment accounting for 6,176 jobs.

Malamulele has always been a traditionally neglected area for infrastructure and development. When the local economy is at risk, development opportunities all but disappear.

Most shops in the rural areas of Malamulele are small outlets that only trade in the most basic foodstuffs and consumer goods. When these stores are forced to close, and their customers stay away, the livelihoods of shop owners are ruined. There is a critical threshold required to make shops feasible and this is impossible when business grinds to a halt.

The DA believes that local social and economic development are some of the primary outcomes that local government should prioritise to reduce poverty and enable people to maintain, if not improve, their socio-economic well-being.

Round table discussions in Malamulele between local government and business owners could help to save local economic activities. To date, the ANC in government is keeping their heads in the ground and not solving Malamulele’s crisis.

Therefore the DA calls for all involved stakeholders to sit around the table and discuss a common and peaceful solution.