Ekurhuleni's jobless rate strains municipality
ONE rate-paying household in the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality subsidises three non-paying households.
The municipality expects this worrying situation to get worse over the next two to three years when the number of households being subsidised will double to six while the number of rate-paying households will remain the same.
This comes after a startling revelation was made indicating that Ekurhuleni's unemployment rate outstripped the national rate, which currently stood at about 24%.
The member of the mayoral committee for finance in the municipality, Moses Makwakwa, said this situation could hamper Ekurhuleni's financial sustainability.
To combat the debilitating effects of poverty and its potential impact on the municipality's financial viability, Makwakwa urged residents who qualified to register as indigents.
Makwakwa also announced that the indigent relief period would be extended from the current 24 months to 36 months while pensioners and other categories of people could, in future, be given permanent indigent status.
A further R20-million will be set aside to "support economic activities to stimulate and develop township economies and R8-million for a programme leading to the revitalisation of the manufacturing sector.
But Ekurhuleni's grand vision takes place against a background of stunted economic growth and a shocking skills shortage.
Makwakwa said the current economic growth rate "is insufficient to reduce unemployment" but that a glaring skills shortage also hampered the city's job creation plans.
"... only 8% of the Ekurhuleni population has more than a matric certificate, of which only 58000 have university degrees," said Makwakwa.
"A total of 92% of the unemployed in the region require unskilled or semi-skilled job opportunities."
Despite this bleak reality, Ekurhuleni managed to generate R23.8-billion in revenue.
The city's capital budget for the 2012/2013 financial year stood at R2.6-billion, with roads and storm-water getting the lion's share at R581-million.
Water and sanitation as well as energy also received larger allocations at R410-million and R398-million respectively.
Transport, human settlements, health and social development would each receive R86-million, R78.3-million, R115.2-million, respectively.