Jobless beg for rethink on Grahamstown

THE Eastern Cape Unemployed People's Movement has begged the government not to turn Grahamstown into a ghost town.

THE Eastern Cape Unemployed People's Movement has begged the government not to turn Grahamstown into a ghost town.

The movement's deputy chairperson, Xolelwa Faku, said Grahamstown's economy would lose about R23million if Radebe continued with his plans to move the seat of the Eastern Cape high court from Grahamstown to Bisho.

Several factories and markets had already closed down, leaving "the unemployment rate hovering at a towering 70percent", Faku said.

A 1995 report on moving the court had already found Grahamstown to be "an economically depressed city in which unemployment is rife", she said.

Faku said the report, commissioned by then president Nelson Mandela, showed that if the high court were moved away from Grahamstown it would be "nothing short of catastrophic for a large segment of the city's community.

The brunt would be borne by the socially and economically disadvantaged section of the community".

In a moving open letter to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe yesterday Faku described life as an unemployed Grahamstown resident in her mid-20s.

"At times you feel like committing suicide, you feel very worthless and useless. When you walk into a kitchen you will be closely monitored. If you touch a bread bin by mistake, I mean by mistake, your mother will jump and say don't use the bread because it is for children who have gone to school," Faku wrote.

"There are times when you eat because the next person is hungry and you are compelled to eat because you don't know when your next meal will be."

Radebe's spokesperson Tlali Tlali was not immediately available for comment.

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