Government and stakeholder must hold hands to reduce joblessness

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The private and public sectors must respond to the job creation an unemployment challenges, said MEC for Finance, Mr Madala Masuku.

Speaking at the Mpumalanga Legislature during the tabling of the Provincial Budget for the 2014/15 financial year, on Tuesday, 11 March 2014, MEC Masuku said cooperation between the government, business and other stakeholders’ cooperation is critical to ensure a much higher job-creating economic growth for the province.

The statement by MEC Masuku follows a contrasting picture that emerged in the employment figures in the past few years.

While the Province has seen a net job creation of 84 000 jobs between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2014, the unemployment rate, especially amongst the youth, has been singled out as one of the major challenge that requires a combined and extra effort from all stakeholders or sectors.

“Together, we must bring the high unemployment rate down by creating decent and sustainable jobs, and also targeting the youth with our employment creation programmes in all industries of the provincial economy, said MEC Masuku.

He emphasized that putting more resources in employment- creating programmes should be continued and SMMs to be supported to growth the economy.

“We should continue putting more resources in programmes such as the expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) and increase expenditure on public infrastructure investments.

A total of R118 million is allocated for implementation of CRDP projects in 2014/15.

He said these programme and expenditure related thereto has also made impact on poverty reduction, which is evident in especially the CRDP municipal areas.

Equally, the government and private sector arrest the decline in performance of the SMMEs by promoting and supporting the small and medium enterprises to contribute to job creation, said MEC.

According t Statistics SA, employment by the SMMEs in the Province declined by 2 200 between the first quarter of 2009 and fourth quarter of 2013.

MEC Masuku said the Mpumalanga economy is expected to grow at a rate very much in line with the national growth expectations of 2.7 per cent, this year.

The manufacturing and mining industries were the main drivers of the economic growth in the province during the last few years.

However the manufacturing industry experienced job losses between the first quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2013. And MEC Masuku said:“We have to do something, working together with industries to contribute to job creation and do not experience jobless growth.”