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Here’s how KZN is dealing with high unemployment rates

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says unemployment in the province has risen to 28.7% from about 23% before the Covid-19 pandemic. File photo.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says unemployment in the province has risen to 28.7% from about 23% before the Covid-19 pandemic. File photo.
Image: KZN government

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says the province has suffered economic setbacks due to high unemployment but more jobs are expected this year. 

The premier delivered his state of the province address (Sopa) this week.

He said unemployment in the province was on the rise compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Zikalala, contributing to the high unemployment rate are corruption and the failure of companies to invest in self-development.

“Our unemployment rate has risen to 28.7% from about 23% before the pandemic,” he said.

“Our economy is saddled with corporate corruption and failure of companies to invest in self-development, lack of sustainable energy generation and instability created by criminal activities of some.”

Zikalala said violent unrest and looting in July last year also saw job losses.

“In our effort to quicken the tempo of job creation while protecting the poor and vulnerable, we managed since last year to create job opportunities through projects and the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) targeting youth, women and the disabled.

“Overall, through initiatives implemented in the province, the EPWP created temporary job opportunities totalling 181,244 over the past year and 139,422 full-time opportunities,” he said.

Zikalala said the province expects 2,500 jobs to be created this year.

“KwaZulu-Natal attracted new investments of R5.5bn in various sectors, which created 8,875 jobs. Through regulating and enforcing compliance in the liquor sector, we have created 1,620 job opportunities, and we expect an additional 2,500 jobs this year.

“To support young people who want to be job creators rather than jobseekers, we are pleased to announce an increase in the value of the KZN Youth Empowerment Fund commitment, from the initial R50m in 2019 to R100m in 2022,” he said.

Zikalala pleaded with the private sector to support the initiative to grow entrepreneurship, drive innovation and create jobs.

“We look to these entrepreneurs and their creative ideas to grow our economy and reduce inequality, unemployment and poverty,” he said.

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