Unemployment in Nelson Mandela Bay reaches crisis levels: DA

BY JESICA SLABBERT - JULY 7, 2016

At a press conference on Thursday morning, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said that unemployment in the Eastern Cape, and in the Nelson Mandela Bay, in particular, had reached crisis levels.

According to recently released figures from Stats SA, unemployment in the Bay is currently at 33.2% - second only to Ekurhuleni, which stands at 34.4%. Stats SA further said about 48% of the unemployed in the Bay are actually the youth.  

“We actually have a youth unemployment crisis even greater than the unemployment crisis. The 47.6% means effectively that every second young person in the city is without work. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why the ANC may lose Nelson Mandela Bay Metro,” Athol Trollip, the DA’s Nelson Mandela Bay Mayoral candidate in the upcoming elections, told journalists.

He said that while government is making available a lot of money for job creation in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), these jobs are essentially temporary, intermittent and do not bring dignity or relief.

Trollip said that the DA plans to launch a municipal graduate programme in the Bay, so that unemployed graduates will be able to gain valuable work experience in relevant municipal departments. He believes this will build the Metro’s skill base and hopefully be able to attract talent into more permanent posts once they are skilled and confident to perform those duties.

In addition to this, he said they would embark on a bursary programme aimed at identifying gifted and previously disadvantaged school learners with the intention of helping to access tertiary education.

“We have identified certain areas in this municipality where there is a critical deficit of skills, and we will offer bursaries to children that qualify, that will be able to become competent in those fields to work for us in the municipality in the future,” said Trollip.

“We believe in providing a government that is small, effective and efficient. What we undertake to bring is a small, effective DA government that will provide the services to the city that will make it work and that we will create jobs, both in the private sector and in the public sector.”

The DA believes the best place to develop job opportunities in the Bay is in the Tourism sector, which they believe is currently underutilised, and in the sanitation sector in order to clean up Nelson Mandela Bay.

Recycling is also something the DA plans to exploit in the Bay while dealing with infrastructure challenges also holds the potential for job creation in partnership with the private sector.

Trollip also said that a DA-led Metro would get back the responsibility for housing in the Bay from the National Housing Development Agency, because they believe they have shown that they can create better RDP houses – while creating jobs.

“There will be some quick fix wins, where the cleaning up of the city will be a quick fix, dealing with our tourism is going to have to require a considerable reconsideration of our budget so that we can promote the city and this region,” he told journalists.