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Opinionista

Western Cape is on the brink of successfully getting its unemployment rate below 20%

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Alan Winde is Western Cape Premier.

Over the past five years, nearly 79% of all net jobs created in South Africa were in the Western Cape: this means that out of approximately every five jobs created in South Africa, four were created in this province.

I am constantly crisscrossing the Western Cape, meeting and talking to people about what we are doing as a government for our citizens. I want to see firsthand how we are delivering services.

Where there are challenges, I want to see them; acknowledge them, and try to find solutions. I also want to acknowledge success, not just for the citizens but for the 90,000 employees of this government who work tirelessly for our residents. We are seeing steady, encouraging progress; the green shoots of hope and optimism that my administration planted five years ago are evident in the areas of delivery that we consider the most critical for our province.

One of the most significant successes for our province has been the ongoing improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI) which measures health, education, and per capita income. The HDI can assume a maximum level of one (1), indicating a high level of human development, and a minimum of zero (0), indicating a poor level of human development.

HDI in the province has improved from 0.61 in 2001 to 0.74 in 2021 and is higher by 10 decimal percentage points than South Africa’s score. This demonstrates that the interventions and programmes employed by our various departments, such as Health, Education and Social Development, are improving the standards of living for people.

Similarly, the Gini Coefficient, which measures inequality and captures a ratio between the values zero (0) reflecting perfect equality, and one (1) reflecting inequity. The lower the score, the more equal society is. In the Western Cape, inequality was placed at 0.60 in 2021, while inequality was placed at 0.68 nationally.

Job creation

A key aspect of achieving these important measurables is enabling an environment where citizens can create and find jobs. Our job creation efforts continue gathering momentum. The Western Cape is just 0.4% away from unemployment falling below 20%, as confirmed by the most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey figures.

While these figures are encouraging, I am driven to do more to bring this number even lower so that we maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and bring it down even further. Over the past five years, nearly 79% of all net jobs created in South Africa were here in the Western Cape: this means that out of approximately every five jobs created in South Africa, four were created in this province.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Economic crisis — SA unemployment rate edges up to 32.1% in Q4 2023

Behind these statistics are job creation and economic growth initiatives implemented years ago which are now producing impressive results. In tourism, a linchpin of our economy, Cape Town Air Access is but one such initiative.

Launched in 2015, it has further opened our skies and province to the world. Thanks to Cape Town Air Access, driven by the province’s official tourism and investment agency, Wesgro, more than 300,000 two-way foreign passengers travelled through Cape Town International Airport in December 2023. This is the highest monthly total ever, beating the previous high of 290,000. This translates into nearly R2-billion injected into the province’s economy.

Work opportunities instead of crime

Where there are jobs, crime is also far less likely to take root. Make no mistake about it, crime is a stubborn monster, and our murder rate is worryingly high.

While violent crimes like murder fluctuate from quarter to quarter, over the long term we are seeing murders coming down in the Western Cape. Our Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (Leap), is a critical extra layer of safety that works closely with the South African Police Service and municipal law enforcement in areas of Cape Town where extra boots and technology are most needed, and outside of Cape Town our rural safety units and K9 units are further augmenting law enforcement efforts.

Power for people

On the energy front, we are writing our own script on how to tackle this complex issue. We are empowering our municipalities and the private sector to find solutions. The City of Cape Town, George, Mossel Bay, Saldanha and Hessequa Municipalities — among others — are making steady progress in reducing their dependence on Eskom for power, ensuring that we become the first province to beat rolling blackouts.

The provincial government, through its Energy Resilience Programme, is supporting local governments with small-scale embedded generation and electricity wheeling processes. We are building up an enabling environment to attract more private sector role players to invest in the likes of green hydrogen development. Nearly 150 private-sector-led projects are underway in our province with more megawatts coming on stream to help us reach our target of 5,700MW.

In everything we do, our citizens and their needs come first. From education to energy, our priorities go towards the most vulnerable. This is demonstrated in our budget, where it counts the most. Of the Western Cape’s R255.29-billion budget over the 2024 medium term, a full two-thirds — 75.4% or R192.21-billion is being spent to ensure that the needs of the poor and vulnerable in our province are met.

But as important as the data and evidence are in guiding our work and measuring our performance, the real metric for me is in the citizens that I meet who now have a job as a result of us cutting red tape; or learners and teachers that I meet who are in school on Saturdays for extra lessons; or a community that is safer because of our law enforcement partnerships.

Those individual lives changed for the better inspire me to continue doing more every day. DM

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  • jcdville stormers says:

    Keep it up,western cape is a beacon of hope and light

  • Sergei Rostov says:

    Should be the lead story – what can be done – but if it’s DA it is not

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      I guess with 20% unemployment informal settlements will disappear and Khayelisha will soon be a city unless it’s not part of the poll.
      The DA has all the intentions and potential of being a leading organisation in this country, all they have to do is stop behaving like they owe certain groups of the society something.

      • Dave Callaghan says:

        They owe us all something because we all pay taxes in various ways. They are trying to to dispel the misconception they they focus mainly on serving the wealthy and middle income citizens. Uplifting of poorer communities is a significant government responsibility that every citizen benefits from. I think it is right for DA to feel that they owe it to citizens in need to do everything they can to improve their lives and promote a more equal society.

  • Nos Feratu says:

    Great strides have been and are being made and as a WC resident I’m happy to read this. However I wonder what the numbers would be if there was a method to include the legal & illegal immigrants (many of whom are working)

    • Roger Sheppard says:

      Yes, there are legal and illegal immigrants, and many of these are working. So what? The illegal immigrants are in thanks to the ANC’s incompetence and disinterest.
      The legal immigrants are working hard…harder than so many of our own people. They would not have work if it were not the case. Good luck to them!
      Our car guard and his wife are legal immigrants. He works for us 2 days a week, to help add to his income. This is no demand on our nation’s social relief handout – R350 per mo. He and his wife live in a garage at the back of some kind person’s property nearby. He has managed to get his son through a Cambridge A-levels programme and now a recently completed Civil Engineering degree at Pretoria U.
      If RSA can provide/create opportunities such as this for any young person, at no cost to this land, whatsoever, why not??
      Alan Winde, surely, would love to add such a result to all his figures.
      In the mean time,he needs as much public support as is possible – word of mouth, social media, and all possible internet opportunities. He puts some “Wind in Our Sails”, in and around this Fairest Cape.

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