40 000 job opportunities lost as MEC Tau stalls on job creation

40 000 job opportunities have been lost because the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, under the leadership of MEC Parks Tau, has missed this critical job creation target for the 2021/2022 financial year.

It is deeply worrying that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) is dragging its feet when it comes to the empowerment of businesses through the Global Business Services programme for the 2021/2022 financial year. This information was revealed in the fourth quarterly report of the department for the previous financial year.

During the third quarter, the department claimed that it could not train and create any jobs as part of this programme, because it was unable to find a suitable space for the training to take place.

However, the DA has been reliably informed that the venue to be used was Nasrec which already has all the infrastructure needed to ensure that the training can take place.

In addition, a target of creating 10 000 jobs in the townships through the Global Business Service programme was also not met.

This is concerning as it means that the department is only embarking on a tick box exercise and is not committed to empowering our entrepreneurs and unemployed youth to become key players in the Information Technology and Communication (ICT) sector.

Programmes like this play a crucial role in ensuring that small businesses that would otherwise not be able to access the Gauteng Broadband Network can do so effectively, giving them access to the digital economy.

This is critical now more than ever, given the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on how businesses are now run.

The DA will be tabling questions to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau, to ascertain exactly how these targets will be met in the 2022/2023 financial year.

Currently, there are at least 2.7 million unemployed people in the province. This programme will play a pivotal role in making a dent in this number, especially amongst our unemployed youth. Furthermore, this will also go a long way to curbing crime in our communities as many unemployed people fall prey to criminal activities in a bid to put food on the table.

Accessing the digital economy, particularly for our youth, is important especially if businesses which operate in the township want to expand their client base which will lead to more jobs being created.

Sedibeng fresh produce market has the potential to create over 4000 jobs if properly managed

Despite falling into disrepair, the Sedibeng fresh produce market has the potential of ensuring that Gauteng residents are given an extra boost in food security.

During a recent oversight visit to the market with the Gauteng Portfolio Committee on Finance, I had the opportunity to see the first-hand difference this market can make to the economy of this province when it is fully restored.

The Gauteng Infrastructure Finance Agency (GIFA) is responsible for taking government projects from initiation to the financial close stages and we are confident that this agency can make a success of the Sedibeng fresh produce market.

While we are yet to see the value GIFA has added to projects, this project might be the one where they can finally prove that they have a place in building new infrastructure and attracting private investors to fund and participate in projects in Gauteng.

This project can be regarded as low hanging fruit, but it is the perfect opportunity for GIFA to win back the trust of the DA and the residents of Gauteng.

If GIFA is successful, then this market, which was once the goose that laid the golden egg, but had no money for regular maintenance and upgrades, can be restored to its former glory.

This also means that farmers who drive to the Johannesburg fresh produce market but have their farms located closer to the Sedibeng area will no longer have to drive a long distance, which in turn means that the price of their goods may now be a bit lower.

In addition, it means that the embattled Emfuleni Local Municipality can potentially earn 8% per annum from the concessionaire.

Furthermore, more than 4000 jobs can potentially be created which will assist in reducing the unemployment rate in our province.

While we support this project which is being run by GIFA, we will be closely monitoring the progress made. Projects like the Kopanong precinct and the Jewellery Hub which have not fully gotten off the ground, despite being in the works for years, have led us to question whether GIFA should still be in existence.

This Sedibeng fresh produce market project is an opportunity for this entity to restore our faith in it. Should it not be making progress on the project as it should, we will ask through the committee that all the officials involved be held to account.

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.

Legal action not taken against officials implicated in ‘jobs for pals’ scandal in Emfuleni

The Emfuleni Local Municipality has misled the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile about taking legal action following allegations of the irregular extension of political appointees’ contracts in the Mayor, Chief whip, and council speaker offices.

These appointments were made weeks before the local government elections which the DA objected to and requested MEC Maile to investigate the matter. These political appointments were illegal as the officials were linked to the previous administration’s political term.

The DA has been informed by MEC Maile in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature that the investigation into the matter was never carried out because Emfuleni had taken legal steps to remedy the situation. The Emfuleni Mayor indicated that the council has resolved to approach the labour court to adjudicate the disputes over contracts of the staff in the political offices which were extended before the end of the previous political term of office.

Emfuleni has provided misleading information to MEC Maile as the suspension of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was the only matter that was tabled in council and referred to the labour court.

The DA has been reliably informed that the CFO was suspended for among other reasons, extending the contracts of the officials’ weeks before the local general elections. However, the suspended CFO is alleging that he was following orders from the former mayor and former chief whip as he was the acting municipal manager at that stage.

The DA demands that MEC Maile initiate an urgent investigation into this matter to ascertain whether the issue of extending contracts of political appointees was referred to the labour court. Should it be found that Emfuleni misled the MEC those responsible should face severe consequences.

Giving jobs to pals is clear corruption and flouts all ethical practices within any organization hence consequence management must take place.

GDID fails to meet EPWP targets while unemployed residents are crying for jobs

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has once again failed the residents and by not fulfilling its mandate to create several Expanded Public Works Programme work opportunities for the fourth quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year. This appears to be a trend, as the department has also failed to meet its EPWP targets during the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

Job creation by the government is important, especially through a programme like the EPWP, as it provides our unemployed residents who are unable to further their studies with critical workplace skills that will empower them to find long-term gainful employment in the future. In addition, this programme also provides the opportunity for the development of an Artisan’s Programme.

According to the quarterly report, GDID had only created 10 807 EPWP work opportunities against a target of 24 608. Furthermore, the department also failed to meet its annual targets for the EPWP in the following sectors:

• 7,117 out of an annual target of 21,009 for the infrastructure sector.
• 19,280 out of an annual target of 22,369 for the social sector.
• 1,590 out of an annual target of 1,552 for the environmental sector.
• 14,610 out of an annual target of 55,039 for municipalities.

The fact that this department consistently fails to meet its EPWP targets is of great concern to the DA, given the fact that there are currently 2.6 million unemployed people in the province.

It is time that the GDID starts delivering on its mandate as it is one of the key drivers of economic opportunities in our province. GDID has a responsibility to act as coordinator of all EPWP programmes in other departments and when those departments fail GDID must take responsibility and be held accountable.

The time has now come for Premier David Makhura to get MEC Tasneem Motara in line. It is unacceptable that we have an entire department that continuously draws a salary, while the quarterly reports clearly indicate that they are not delivering on their set targets.

This behaviour has been allowed to continue because consequence management is non-existent within the Premier Makhura-led administration. The DA is once again calling on Premier Makhura to dissolve this department as Gauteng residents are the ones constantly bearing the brunt of this ill-equipped department.

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.

Loadshedding has left 122500 Gauteng citizens without jobs

It is deeply worrying that the Gauteng Provincial Government is unable to track the exact impact that loadshedding has had on the province.

This revelation comes just as the country is hit by another round of loadshedding that will once again not only impact our residents negatively but also businesses which rely on electricity to continue production or trade.

While loadshedding has been with us for many years, its impact over the past two years has been particularly marked due to the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only have businesses been struggling with reduced revenues during the pandemic, but continued blackouts have caused even greater revenue loss.

According to a reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) regarding the impact loadshedding has had specifically on Gauteng, MEC Parks Tau explained that disruptions to operations caused by loadshedding have meant that businesses have had to work under unpredictable and unstable conditions.

In turn, workers lose working hours which has a direct impact on business productivity. Not only are the hours lost and unproductive but employees still need to be paid for those hours not worked. This is coupled with higher operating costs due to mitigating measures that need to be put into place such as the installation and operation of generators. In many instances, these additional unforeseen costs can be crippling to a business and can be the final straw causing the business to close.

The MEC has also indicated that an estimated 122500 jobs have been lost due to Eskom’s continued loadshedding. This revelation about the shockingly high level of job losses amongst Gauteng residents comes off the back of a Statistics SA (Stats SA) announcement that 2162000 residents are unemployed in Gauteng.

While the MEC was able to give a detailed response about the national impact the blackouts have had on the economy over the last two years, it is critical that as a province we can track exactly how many businesses have been forced to close their doors because of government’s poor planning.

Many industries in the province and particularly small businesses rely on Eskom to ensure that there is a constant supply of electricity. In many instances not only do businesses and our residents have to contend with loadshedding but also load reduction.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently been on a round of investment roadshows both locally and internationally in an attempt to entice investors to invest in South Africa. A regular efficient supply of electricity is one of the basic factors that investors would require before they commit large amounts of capital to South Africa.

Where we govern in the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town has already published documents to become independent of Eskom and utilise Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The DA will work hard to promote the proliferation of IPPs in Gauteng to reduce the reliance on Eskom supplying electricity in the province. The DA will push, through all means available to it, for the Gauteng government to offer incentives for IPPS to set up power generation in the province and reduce reliance on Eskom and the dire impact it has on its economy.

2.6 million people are unemployed in Gauteng, while the government rests on its laurels

2 612 000 residents of Gauteng are unemployed and a further 848 000 have given up hope of finding a job. This brings the unemployment rate to a staggering 36,6%.

This is a clear indication that our people are suffering and are struggling to put food on the table.

This information was revealed in the fourth quarter Labour Force Survey for 2021 that was released earlier this week.

This is very concerning as it is evident that not enough is being done by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) to ensure that sufficient employment opportunities are created for our unemployed residents in the province.

To address the inequality in our society, we need a government that has the political will to ensure that the private sector is prepared to invest in our economy so that more job opportunities can be created. Under the leadership of Premier David Makhura, it is clear that this political will does not exist and our economy will continue to decline.

Recently it came to light that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development failed to meet its ICT job creation target which was set at 20 000 for the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

It is opportunities like these that help to alleviate unemployment, particularly amongst our youth who are in desperate need of jobs.

The GPG must ensure that the correct environment for the private sector to invest in the economy is created by ensuring that skills training and development takes place.

It cannot be that we have a situation where our unemployed residents particularly the youth are crying out for employment and skills development opportunities that are blatantly being ignored by the GPG.

The DA is demanding that all government departments especially the Department of Economic Development starts meeting its job creation and skills development training targets set for the year.

I will also be raising these concerns through the Portfolio of Economic Development Committee at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

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.

Gauteng’s unemployment rate worsens while Makhura’s Tshepo 1 Million fails to deliver

The Gauteng unemployment rate is skyrocketing yet only the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the province has been reporting on the Tshepo 1 Million programme in its quarterly financial reports.

For the second quarter of the 2021/22 financial year, this department failed to meet the target set under this programme which is meant to provide employment opportunities for our youth in the province.

A target of creating 750 employment opportunities was set by the department but only 442 opportunities were created.

The fact that this is the only department other than the Office of the Premier that reports on targets set for the Tshepo 1 Million programme is a clear indication that Premier David Makhura’s government in the province is not serious about creating a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in our economy.

Furthermore, according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey published by Statistics South Africa, Gauteng’s unemployment rate is at 37 percent and has been increasing compared to the previous quarters. In the first quarter it was at 33.7 percent, second quarter it was 35.4 percent and now it is 37 percent.

This is extremely worrying considering that Gauteng is the economic hub of the country with abundant resources that can assist in growing the country’s economy and creating employment opportunities.

This shows that Makhura’s administration has failed to create employment opportunities for this province and whatever promises he will make in this regard during his State of the Province Address will remain unfulfilled.

Training our youth and providing our unemployed residents with skills needed to help them seek out employment opportunities that will lead to long-term employment is critical if we want our province’s economy to grow.

The Covid-19 pandemic can no longer be used as an excuse for Gauteng departments not meeting their job creation targets, as this is our new normal.

It is time that we start to embrace our challenges and find innovative ways to ensure that our unemployed residents are given an opportunity to access learnerships, internships and skill upliftment programmes.

The government’s job is not to give our unemployed residents jobs, but rather to create the correct environment through training programmes like the Tshepo 1 Million programme that will enable all our unemployed residents to become employable.

The DA will continue to demand that all departments report on the Tshepo 1 Million programme as this is supposed to be a key driver of employment opportunities in our province. Our people are in desperate need of employment and tired of empty promises that will never materialise.