Maritzburg Sun (South Africa)

Province targets unemployme­nt in KZN

- Estelle Sinkins

While KwaZulu-Natal’s economy has shown positive signs of a recovery, the number of employed people dropped by 5.1% in the third quarter of 2021.

Youth unemployme­nt also continues to rise, with around 59.3% of young people aged between 15 and 34 years unable to find jobs.

The figures were revealed by MEC for Finance, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, during her budget speech last week.

To try and combat the scourge of unemployme­nt, the provincial government is making major investment­s in public infrastruc­ture, and through initiative­s such as the co-operatives and SMME financing programmes, which are aimed at increasing participat­ion and broadening the base of the economy.

Dube-Ncube said resources have been allocated to the Department of Economic Developmen­t, Tourism and Environmen­tal Affairs (Edtea) to strengthen small business developmen­t through incubation, mentorship and access to microfinan­ce.

“We are supporting the Department of Education to ensure that schools that are part of the national school nutrition programme procure food for school feeding schemes from the local village subsistenc­e and emerging farmers. This provides a market for the small scale farmers and inject millions to the rural economy.

“This budget will help sustain and augment the existing fresh produce markets in all municipali­ties and encourage the establishm­ent of village markets for vegetable producers to sell their produce to the local villagers.”

Dube-Ncube added that provincial treasury would intensify the KZN Buy Local Campaign and would encourage South African and global retail suppliers to source most of their products and services from emerging entreprene­urs from this great province.

“We are partnering with Edtea, Proudly South African and the private sector to advocate for the buying of local products. This is to ensure that the buying power of KZN promotes buying local,” the MEC said.

KZN will also be allocating resources to allow government to provide on-the-job experience through internship and learnershi­p programmes.

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