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Premier says Eastern Cape drought partly responsible for job losses

Feb 13, 2020
Premier says Eastern Cape drought partly responsible for job losses

East London - Commenting on the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday, Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, said that his administration had noted the mixed data sets showing job losses and growth in some sectors in the province.

"Such mix of data sets is in the area of increase in the numbers of unemployment by three percentage points, from 36,5% in the third quarter to 39.5% in the fourth quarter of 2019, while numbers of people discouraged to seek employment dropped by 73 000," said Mabuyane.

"We think this may be the reason our official unemployment rate is up because people who were discouraged started to be optimistic to seek employment.

"While the province lost a worrying number of jobs, other sectors like the Community and social services gained 18 000 jobs and transport gained 13 000 jobs."

Mabuyane said that one of the reasons we saw job losses was the punishing drought that slashed 19000 jobs in the agriculture sector because lack of rain reduced production activity in this sector.

"We remain optimistic that the programs we are implementing in partnership with national and local government to attract investors into the province will create more jobs for the people of the province," the Premier said.

"It is in the interest of all of us in the country to ensure that we create jobs for those unemployed, give business contracts to the small businesses of our country so that they further create jobs."

He still said that the investment drive led by President Cyril Ramaphosa has a percolative effect in that some of the companies investing money into the province create direct and indirect jobs.

"We are hoping the President will talk more about how national government will lead a spirited effort to move with a speed of light to address unemployment in the country.

"In times like these, all of us, especially those in the private sector are required to sacrifice by directing some of the money that would be paid as dividends to shareholders, bonusses to managers, to create jobs for the scores of the unemployed people, which include the unemployed graduates, save jobs of many workers at risk of losing their jobs," the Premier said.

"We have an opportunity to work together as leaders of sectors to create these opportunities for the people of this country using the investment, manufacturing incentives government has made available to private companies.

"We remain optimistic that the investments we have made with the economic stimulus fund will yield long term positive results to change these numbers by slashing unemployment."

Mabuyane added that the current government continues to put in place strategies anchored on the Provincial Development Plan to push the provincial GDP growth rate from 2.8% to 5% by 2030, increase investments into the province from 16.5% of GDP to 27.1% by 2030.

"We are confident that when we implement these strategies we will reduce unemployment in the province from 39.5% to 10%, and poverty from 36.7% to 7.7% by 2030. This is possible. It can be done," he said.

"It is important that public, private sector, workers, civil society work together to implement programs that we have agreed on in the development strategies of our country as we grow South Africa to be the country we all want it to be for the current and future generations."

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