The loss of 69 000 jobs in the last quarter of 2012 is a major setback for the economy of the Eastern Cape and will only add to the massive problem we face with poverty in this province. The Eastern Cape suffered the highest number of job losses of all the provinces.
These job losses, coupled with poor service delivery, add to the ticking time bomb of anger that people have with the current government. The government is caught up in an ideological straight jacket which results in them failing to implement the right job creation policies.
This together with the implosion of service delivery and infighting within the ruling party is destroying jobs in the Eastern Cape.
These latest figures by Statistics South Africa do not take into account the possible impact of mining retrenchments as well as the latest wage settlement as far as agriculture is concerned. The pending electricity hikes by Eskom will also impact negatively on employment opportunities.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows the number of people employed declined from 1 330 000 to 1 261 000 in the last quarter of 2012. This is a decline of 5,2 %.Year on year the total job losses for the Eastern Cape were 65 000. The unemployment rate now stands at 29.8% up from 28,8% from the previous quarter. The expanded definition of unemployment is now 46, 1%.
The number of people giving up looking for work now stands at 470 000, up by 82 000. If you add the official unemployed figure of 536 000, it means that over one million people are without work.
Three crucial steps are necessary to improve job opportunities in our province: improve access to- and accountability in the education system; enhance youth employment prospects by implementing the youth wage subsidy and create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs by cutting red tape and corruption and delivering basic services at attractive rates.
The Eastern Cape needs strong political leadership to turn this province around and the governing party is failing dismally in this regard.
Bobby Stevenson, MPL