During the presentation of her State of the Province Address (SOPA)‚ The Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said that not only is business responding positively in the province, her province was at the same time creating jobs and drastically battling unemployment which has reduced significantly.
The Western Cape seems to be defying the trend of unemployment which has plagued the world for some decades now. The poor economic growth and job creation nationally did not have much effect on the province as Helen Zille stated.
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“Today‚ there are over 200,000 more jobs in the Western Cape than there were when we took office in 2009‚” said Helen Zille.
She stated that the province had managed to recover and grow in the midst of the recent global recession.
“The unemployment rate has gone down over the last three years‚ from 24.8% in 2012 to 20.6% as of September 2015‚ according to the quarterly labour force survey of Stats SA‚ which is truly remarkable given the rate of population growth‚” said Zille.
The Premier’s SOPA just like the president’s SONA comes at a difficult time in the country with regards to the increased fear over the country’s economic performance due to a falling rand and a drought that is threatening food security in some towns.
Also, the recent fires which affected both wine and stock farmers put Western Cape in a difficult position.
Zille mentioned that unemployment has not been completely defeated in Western Cape, but expresses hope and confidence that they are headed in the right direction.
“Although our unemployment rate is still much too high‚ at least we are moving in the right direction‚” said Zille.
Zille also expressed her confidence in the Western Cape’s economy through investment in the province’s infrastructure.
“In a 12-month period ending August last year‚ 654000m² of commercial and residential developments were approved for construction in the Western Cape‚ almost nine times the 75000m² approved in Gauteng for the same period‚ according to Statistics South Africa‚” said Zille.
This is indeed a step in the right direction which will be profitable to the country if other leaders follow suit.