By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:
The Democratic Alliance hopes that the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of 2015 will contain some good news for the province. The report is due to be released on Wednesday.
Currently, at 45%, the Northern Cape has the highest youth unemployment rate in the country. The retrenchments at Kumba Iron One, one of the biggest employers in the province, and projected losses in the mining and agriculture sector does not bode well for the province.
The Democratic Alliance believes that it is critical for opportunities to be created so that we can address inequality together.
We must take our cue from the youth who remain optimistic in the face of adversity. While youth unemployment in the province is now the highest it has been since 2008, only 6% of our youth are discouraged from seeking work. This is even more remarkable, considering that provinces with lower levels of youth unemployment have higher levels of discouraged work seekers. Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have youth unemployment levels that are up to 10% lower than the Northern Cape, but 12% of their youth have become discouraged from seeking employment.
If we do not address the challenge of unemployment urgently, generations of South Africans will be burdened with poverty. The longer a young person is unemployed, the more his chances decrease of ever obtaining a job. For that reason, the Democratic Alliance believes that a Youth Wage Subsidy must be implemented which gives young South Africans experience in the labour market.
We also need to focus on vocational training, internship and apprentice programmes to develop skills needed in our economy.
We need to set up Red Tape Reduction Units, such as in the Western Cape, and assist SMME’s with development. A spirit of entrepreneurship is crucial for the South African economy. All SMME’s must be judged by the same standard when applying for government assistance. We need to eliminate the specter of patronage and cronyism that sees the politically connected few prosper.