The loss of jobs in Gauteng further burdens residents who are already losing economic opportunities because of loadshedding and its effects on water supply and municipal services. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released for the fourth quarter of 2022, unemployment in Gauteng currently stands at 34%. This is a slight increase from 33.7% during the third quarter of 2022.
In the context of other provinces, the survey noted, “Large employment increases were recorded in Western Cape (up by 167 000), North West (up by 23 000), Eastern Cape (up by 20 000) and Northern Cape (up by 12 000). Conversely, employment losses were recorded in Limpopo (down by 20 000), Gauteng (down by 18 000), Mpumalanga (down by 13 000) and Free State (down by 3 000) during the same period. Western Cape recorded the biggest quarter-to-quarter change in employment with an increase of 6,9%.”
Gauteng residents continue to lose work opportunities, despite the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) having several programmes in place that are meant to equip our unemployed residents with skills to help them find long-term employment opportunities.
Currently, there are 2 523 000 unemployed residents, 3 589 000 not economically active residents and 599 000 discouraged work seekers in the province.
Loadshedding and the rising crime levels in the province harm investor confidence. While the GPG is not directly responsible for creating permanent employment opportunities, they do have a responsibility to ensure a business-friendly environment for the private sector and international investors to invest in our economy.
There is much work to be done to enhance work opportunities. A capable government will have to understand the changing nature of the world of work and the disruption experienced due to the pandemic.
Sectors such as energy and ICT are exploding with opportunities, but our jobless and especially the unemployed youth, are in no position to access the skills they will need in the future. Moreover, even tech-savvy youngsters are not capitalising on the wide variety of open-source learning opportunities that are available for free.
Attracting and retaining talent in Gauteng will require a new approach, given that many sectors are experimenting with a four-day workweek, remote opportunities, gig economies, and open Artificial Intelligence. Gauteng will have to become the province where infrastructure and basic services are reliable and an “always on” culture is enhanced with reliable and fast connectivity for every job seeker.
The DA is already implementing many innovative solutions where we govern around the country: https://www.da.org.za/where-we-govern, and we are poised to future-proof the residents of Gauteng by slashing red tape, inviting independent power producers onto the grid, and connecting people to opportunities.