2 658 000 Gauteng residents are unemployed, yet few job creation targets are met

It comes as no surprise that there has been an increase in the unemployment rate in Gauteng.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) that was released for the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate in the province currently stands at 36.7%.

Currently, there are 2 658 000 unemployed Gauteng residents, while there are 680 000 discouraged work seekers in the province.

This increase in the unemployment rate is extremely concerning, given Premier David Makhura’s claims that his administration is committed to ensuring that employment opportunities are created through various programmes led by the government.

However, the quarterly reports paint a different picture regarding the job creation targets and, in many instances, these targets are not met.

These job creation targets and skills development programmes play an integral part in ensuring that there is a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in the economy.

It is high time that Premier Makhura, and his executives should ensure that all job creation and skills development targets set each year are met.

This is critical for our unemployed residents who are not able to access tertiary institutions due to a lack of finances.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the Premier Makhura-led administration to meet all its job creation targets. We also demand that where these targets are not met, the political head and officials responsible for these programmes are held to account.

Gauteng Department of Economic Development spends over R5 million on war room, yet Zero employment opportunities created

The 2.6 million unemployed residents of Gauteng are not reaping any benefit from the Economic Development war room that was established under Premier David Makhura, yet a total of R5 052 195,96 has been spent.

This is extremely disheartening as it means that our unemployed residents especially the youth will continue to struggle to put food on the table and will now have to wait even longer before they can become active participants in the economy in the province.

Since its inception last year, R1 772 720,46 has been spent to supply and equip the physical facilities the war room utilises and a further R3 279 475,50 has been spent on compensating the 17 technical advisory panel members for the period covering October 2021 to February 2022.

In response to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau indicated that since the inception of the war room in July last year a roundtable discussion with the various sectors involved only took place between February and April this year. Furthermore, no job creation has taken place and the MEC is unable to tell us exactly how many jobs will be created.

The DA will be engaging with MEC Tau regularly to monitor the progress made in stimulating the economy and ensuring that more job opportunities are created for our residents on an ongoing basis.

The time for talking is over and it is high time that the Department of Economic Development starts delivering on its mandate of ensuring that a conducive environment is created for the private sector to create more job opportunities that will lead to long term employment for the unemployed residents of the province. Our residents cannot wait till 2024 for more jobs to be created, they need jobs now.

The war room is proving to be toothless as Gauteng is seeing an increase in the number of unemployed people and those who have given up on ever finding a job in the Gauteng economy. The so-called war room is ineffective as an intervention. The priority for the province must be to attract investors who will create jobs for the people.

20 000 job opportunities lost in ICT sector, while our youth are crying out for jobs

20 000 youth in our townships are losing out on a critical skills development programme simply because the Gauteng Department of Economic Development is unable to get their ducks in a row.

Unemployment in Gauteng is at an all-time high at 37 percent and our youth in particular are suffering and are in desperate need of employment opportunities to put food on the table.

The Department of Economic Development in Gauteng has yet again failed to meet its job creation target for the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

According to the third quarter report, a total of 20 000 job opportunities were meant to be created in the ICT sector.

The report further indicates that this target was missed because the department was unable to find suitable sites for the training.

This is a pathetic excuse from the department as their total goal is to train 40 000 people by the end of this financial year.

We are two years into the devasting Covid-19 pandemic and yet, we are still unable to find ways of working around the problems of accommodating our residents in being upskilled in new technology.

It is high time that the lackadaisical approach from our government to capacitate our residents with critical ICT skills ends.

The DA demands that a clear plan be put in place by the department which explains exactly how this backlog will be addressed. We will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature as well as continuing to put pressure on the department to meet this target by the end of the current financial year.

The DA will also monitor this process to ensure that all our youth have fair access to this programme.

This programme will leave our unemployed residents and youth with a new skill that will assist them in seeking out the job opportunities that arise. This will also assist with skills transfer to other residents across the province.

Save Jobs: DA requests MEC Tau to grant 3 months grace period to liquor industry

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau asking him to grant liquor outlets a grace period and payment holiday for three months for those outlets that have their licences up for renewal.

Small businesses, including liquor outlets, bore the brunt of the vandalism and looting that erupted in the province last week.

In addition to this devastation, the alcohol industry has already suffered major losses due to the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the sector.

The Covid-19 Lockdown regulations have brought countless liquor outlets to their knees, forcing many to retrench staff. This has resulted in an additional loss of jobs – something our economy cannot afford.

Granting a grace period on the renewal of liquor licences as well as a payment holiday will help the industry to get back on its feet once the ban on the sale of alcohol has been lifted.

Given the extraordinary times that we are living in, extraordinary measures are needed to help get our economy in the province back on track.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC to put measures in place that assist not only the liquor industry, but all businesses that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A grace period such as this could very well be the measure that ends up saving the jobs of those who are in absolute fear of their livelihood as a result from lockdown restrictions, and the rampant looting and destruction of the province.

The time is now to save livelihoods.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA welcomes appointment of GEP permanent CEO

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng welcomes the appointment of the new permanent CEO for the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), Saki Zamxaka. This appointment of a permanent CEO is long overdue as this entity which is tasked with assisting small business and boosting the township economy, has been without a permanent leader for the past five years.

I expect the new CEO to hit the ground running as he is not new to the Economic Department portfolio, having previously served as the CEO of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency.

Zamxaka has an immense task ahead of him and his first order of business should be to operationalize the R250 million that has been set aside for small businesses in Gauteng.

In addition to this, he should also ensure that the following is attended to as a matter of urgency:

  • Appoint a suitably qualified senior management at the GEP;
  • Co-operate with the Special Investigating Unit probe into the mismanagement of public funds;
  • Clear the backlog of applications that are outstanding, especially the Covid-19 relief applications; and
  • Complete a skills audit at the GEP so that the right people are in the correct jobs.

If the new CEO works to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs in Gauteng, that creates the correct environment for investment and job creation in the province, he will have our full support.

It is high time that the GEP starts to deliver on its core mandate, which is to assist small businesses, especially those who operate in the township economy.

Only one Special Economic Zone fully operational in Gauteng, while unemployment continues to rise

It is extremely concerning to note that there is only one fully operational Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gauteng.  

This information was revealed in a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau. The fully operational SEZ is ORITA, located in Ekurhuleni.  

The fact that there is only one fully operational SEZ is surprising, considering that Premier David Makhura spent a considerable amount of time during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) to highlight the importance of SEZs in promoting economic growth in the province.  

Furthermore, the MEC states that the Jewellery Hub which is the second phase of this SEZ in Ekurhuleni will become operational in the 2022/23 financial year.  

The Vaal SEZ only exists on paper as part of a Master Plan while there is no geographical location for this zone.   

SEZs play an important role in encouraging the private sector to invest in the economy and will also play an important role in ensuring that skills transfer can take place in the community where it is operational. This is key to ensuring that the current unemployment rate in the province decreases.  

In addition, these zones provide a space for small businesses to operate in a space that is able to cater to their operational needs. It is high time that the ANC-led Gauteng government ensures that these spaces in the province become operational and are maintained regularly.  

I will be engaging with the MEC For Economic Development to ascertain what plans are in place to ensure that all SEZs and Industrial Hubs are operational in the province and what time frames are in place for this to happen.  


Appointment of Former Joburg Mayor Parks Tau as Economic Development MEC concerning

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the latest reshuffle of Premier David Makhura’s executive after the position of MEC of Health was left vacant, when the Premier fired Bandile Masuku, the MEC for Health.

However, it is concerning to note that the Premier has appointed the Former Joburg Mayor, Parks Tau as the new MEC for Economic Development. Tau who is yet to be sworn in as a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature has been implicated in alleged corruption involving Regiments Capital.

In 2012 media reports emerged indicating that there may have been a conflict of interest when Tau’s wife, Philisiwe Twala-Tau received a stake in a Capitec Bank black economic empowerment deal in 2006 worth around R10 million, led by Regiments Capital. At the time, Tau was the MMC responsible for treasury.

It is concerning to note that Tau has been appointed to the executive, given that Premier Makhura had removed the former MEC for Health from that position because of his involvement in a controversial PPE tender that was awarded by the Department of Health.

The DA will be keeping a close eye on the new MEC for Economic Development to ensure that there this department is run in a transparent manner.

The current MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi has been appointed as the new MEC for Health.

The new MEC for Health needs to hit the ground running to confront the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and fix the deep-rooted rot in the Gauteng Health Department.


Gauteng Department of Economic Development clueless about the number of Township Enterprise Hubs

It is shocking that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development does not know exactly how many Township Enterprise Hubs there are in the province.

This was revealed to me by the MEC for Economic Development Winifred Mosupyoe in response to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to the MEC, the department is in the process of determining the number of Township Enterprise Hubs in Gauteng.

Prioritising Township Enterprise Hubs is an important pillar of the department as this will allow township economies to flourish.

The fact that the department does not have a detailed list of Township Enterprise Hubs shows that the ANC-led government cares little about growing township economies.

Furthermore, the department does not have any idea how many jobs have been created by the Township Enterprise Hubs.

Again, some of these Township Enterprise Hubs are in a deplorable state and are situated in old and dilapidated buildings.

These conditions do not attract the much needed investors who are key to growing the township economy.

It is high-time that the department prioritises Township Enterprise Hubs as they play a crucial role in promoting job creation, skills development and boosting the township economy.

The DA is calling on the MEC to speed up the process of determining the exact number of Township Enterprise Hubs and give us the final audit report on this matter.

Unemployment the biggest challenge facing Gauteng

Ndza khensa 

Honourable members, fellow South Africans

The single biggest challenge facing Gauteng is unemployment; the latest figures of the number of unemployed people in Gauteng sits at above 2 million people. Gauteng, once the land of gold, a province many flocked to for economic opportunities has gone backward. Unless something drastic is done, it will soon be the province of unemployment and poverty. Our unemployment rate sits above the national average at 31%.

Honourable members, unemployment in our province is not a natural phenomenon, it is man-made, it is as a result of bad leadership, incorrect policies adopted and a lot of sloganeering with little substance. We have an aptly named department of Economic Development that has done very little to develop the economy of the province in order to address the challenges of unemployment and the poverty suffered by our people.

If one was to take the annual report of the multitudes of the unemployed and underemployed people of our province, very few would believe that indeed the economy of the province is working for them. Granted, the department has on paper performed well because the bar has been set so low that the department can achieve 94% of its targets when the provincial economy is not growing and unemployment is rising.

The recently released GDP figures indicate that the economy of the country has contracted, mainly due to a decline in manufacturing, mining, Agriculture, Transport and communication. Gauteng once lead in the production of gold thus boosting the provincial economy, but the last few years have seen a decline in the output from the gold mining sector. It is no coincidence that most of our gold mines are in the worst performing municipalities of the province. There is a direct correlation between bad governance and economic output. Gauteng suffers because of bad leadership.

We have a serious anomaly in this province. The department that is tasked with economic development is performing “well” when every indicator of development is going in the opposite direction. How is it possible to have a department of economic development that is said to be performing when the economy of Gauteng is not growing? 

The department through the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) is supposed to be the leading entity in enterprise development and support but for a long time it has failed to perform this important function. GEP is more internally focused rather than assisting the many entrepreneurs that Gauteng has to offer. 

The targets that have been set are so low yet the department still fails to meet many of them and, in some instances, suppliers are paid before goods are delivered. The economic future of the province lies in the hands of small enterprises and they require an agency or entity that will focus on this important task. GEP continues to fail in propelling enterprises, in some instances it is even seen as a stumbling block to enterprise development.

Another area of misalignment is the low figure given to the GGDA for Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Direct Investment. The target is set so low that it doesn’t make a dent in the unemployment crisis facing Gauteng. It is as if the figures are set so low so as to ensure people receive their bonuses rather than assisting the people of Gauteng. We must at all times remind ourselves and department officials that none of us should be here to serve our jackets; we are here to serve the people of Gauteng.

Honourable members, if we all agree that we are faced with an unemployment crisis in Gauteng, then we must also agree that the measurement tools for this department should be economic growth and a decline in the unemployment rate. The department can never be said to be performing when our people remain unemployed. There should be no bonuses paid if the unemployment rate is still rising. Let’s together work to reduce the unemployment and poverty rates amongst the people of Gauteng.

Ndza Khensa

Economic Development should streamline its entities to make it easy for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses

Madam Speaker,

My colleague made a very important point earlier when he said that unemployment remains the most significant challenge of our time. He went further to point out that DED officials should be appraised on the dent their efforts make to unemployment figures and the causal impact of their work to achieve economic growth.

When we debated the budget for this department, I made these remarks:

In the case of DED, the governance model relies on entities such as GEP, GGDA and the GTA. If one considers the minimal impact of these entities and the cost to the people of Gauteng to have them, it becomes clear that the people are not getting value for their money. In fact, they appear to be nothing more than luxury patronage networks, designed to facilitate collusion and corruption.

The department will only be able to achieve its goals if it overhauls its governance model completely. MEC, you have an opportunity to do this. 

Streamline the entities so that it becomes easy and attractive to start your business in Gauteng. Focus on the variables that matter such as GDP growth, or the number of start-ups that make it through a 5-year business cycle, or economic opportunities facilitated. The high vacancy rates in the entities is an opportunity to overhaul the operational design so that you cut the fat and the waste.

MEC, you also have an opportunity at the start of your new administrative term to go beyond measuring inputs and outputs. How do you know that the successes you boasted about in this debate were actually caused by the DED and its entities? How can you be so confident when you only measure inputs and activities? What about outcomes and their impact in the real world?

Madam Speaker,

There is a giant difference between getting a clean audit and actually having an impact on the ground. You cannot earn a gold star for ticking all the right boxes. Not when the unemployment rate in Gauteng sits at 31%.

Take a critical look at the targets you set for yourself in the APP, and you will see that they mean nothing to a township entrepreneur who has a growth mindset, and the will to succeed.