By Ann McDonnell, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs:
THE recent Stats SA unemployment figures– which reveal that unemployment figures for KZN’s non-metro municipalities are amongst the highest in the country – must serve as a wake-up call for government.
With the recent focus on the #feesmustfall protest it is terrifying to think that these many students, may well inherit a broken economy unable to offer them jobs – and that they will join the queue with the 24% already unemployed
Indeed the global economy is gloomy. It is also impacting on us due to our reliance on the export of minerals. But the situation also presents us with service sector opportunities which are also much easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to engage in.
One of these is tourism. Now that government has amended the misguided Visa regulations and the Rand is at a record low, the gates for tourism should open. The GDP of this sector is up there with mining. We have the climate, world heritage sites, wonderful beaches and much more. All we need is to allow business to do what they do best without political interference.
It is also time to take back what we have given away in our once great textile and garment industry.
Government departments must support local manufacturers for school, hospital and security uniforms. They must also see that small factories are empowered to produce instead of taking the easy route of giving contracts to connected cadres who import the goods, mark up and deliver.
Government can either watch as our country and our province slide into an unemployment abyss. Or it can offer real opportunity by promoting individual skills and talents.
The ball is in their court.