If you think there are a lot of jobless people on the streets of South Africa, then you will certainly marvel at the Mpumalanga’s Bushbuckridge Municipality unemployment rate.
The sorry state of the province’s residents is so bad that only less than 15% of the municipality’s residents are employed despite it being a presidential nodal point.
Agriculture and tourism are the main sources of employment for residents of Bushbuckridge Municipality which is one of the five local municipalities under the Ehlanzeni District Municipality. The municipality consists of 135 residential areas which are divided into 34 wards.
The municipality was formerly under Limpopo province, but was incorporated into Mpumalanga few years after a decision was taken by the national government to transfer it.
The unemployment-stricken municipality shares common boundary with the popular tourist destination, the Kruger National Park, and is also regarded as a gateway to other major tourist attraction sites such as Hoedspruit, Pilgrim’s Rest, and Graskop among others.
With just over a month left before the local government elections on August 3, delivery of basic services to the people of Bushbuckridge remains a challenge.
Nevertheless, the out-going Bushbuckridge (ANC) executive mayor Renius Khumalo every effort is being put in by the municipality to ensure that the delivery of basic services is no longer just mere promise.
As a result of the Bushbuckridge Municipality unemployment rate, most of the people in the municipality live in brick houses. Also, 27.4% of the community lives in mud houses particularly found in the deep rural areas.
Informal settlements are also found in this municipality at over 2%. Khumalo says the municipality is looking at housing such people in integrated settlements.
Khumalo threw more light on the steps that have been taken in ensuring that there is improvement in the municipality.
“The Department of Human Settlement does not give us less than 500 houses every financial year now we are distributing them in various villages because we have to intervene in most of the areas. We are establishing new townships, four townships have been approved by Human Settlement for communities in Bushbuckridge.
The first one that is currently receiving serious attention is Komane around Rolle where we actually have over 200 sites that would be serviced for community three, for RDP houses and also low-cost houses and other houses,” Khumalo said.
He added that with the Bushbuckridge Municipality unemployment rate, the municipality is finding ways to create more employment opportunities for the residents.