Jobs a concern for metro

Mayor Mondli Gungubele delivered his last state of the city address where he said that unemployment is still a huge challenge despite job opportunities from multi-billion rand projects. Picture: Thapelo Morebudi.

UNEMPLOYMENT is still a huge challenge in the city of Ekurhuleni despite the multibillion-rand projects to create more job opportunities.

This was said by Mondli Gungubele during his last state of the city address in Tsakane yesterday.

Gungubele said globalisation and rapid urbanisation had led to significant migration particularly from the rural areas of Limpopo, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga into Gauteng and in particular to Ekurhuleni.

“Despite the progress made in repositioning the mandate of cities, too many of our communities still lack the skills, business infrastructure and networks and access to contribute and benefit from the regional economy,” Gungubele said.

“A quick glimpse at Ekurhuleni tells you a story of a city with a higher unemployment rate than other metros, income inequalities and social and financial exclusion.

Relative to towns, townships generally have a higher unemployment rate as well as people with no formal education.”

He said the OR Tambo International Airport was a critical asset that positioned the metro as an important international aviation node.

“I am pleased to inform you that this new design has led to the conceptualisation of an effective way to reconfigure our urban spaces and economic centres.”

He mentioned the three key functional economic corridors as Thami Mnyele (Tembisa to Vosloorus), OR Tambo Aerotropolis Core Corridor (Kempton Park, Boksburg and Germiston) and Thelle Mogoerane corridor (Alberton to Nigel).

Gungubele said the Thelle Mogoerane corridor comprised of multibillion rand catalystic projects including the R51bn Prasa new rolling stock and the Tambo Springs Inland Port development projects.

He said the 30 year old Aerotropolis master plan had enhanced the investment profile of the region.

“In partnership with Acsa, Denel and related strategic partners, the sky can only be the limit,” Gungubele said.

To date, inward investment valued at R20bn had been facilitated with the potential to sustainably employ 16000 people.

Gungubele said the metro is witnessing a massive private sector investment to the tune of R100bn. He said in their effort to create employment and reduce poverty, they had created no less than 200 000 job opportunities in the past five years.

Gungubele announced that through public sector projects, they had created 52 856 opportunities whereas the broader economic sectors created 148 689 .

“Corruption is a cancer that is ravaging our institutions and communities. “We have introduced the open-to-public bid adjudication committee meetings to enhance transparency of process.”

He admitted that the EMPD operated with a skeleton staff who service 22 precincts and a population of more than 3 million.

“We have recruited 150 more members and plans are afoot to increase the unit by 1000 members in the near future.”

He said the metro’s robust approach in dealing with HIV and Aids had reduced new infections from 27% in 2011 to 13.7% in December last year. DA caucus leader Fortune Mahano said there was nothing new in Gungubele’s speech.

“They are creating people to depend on government rather than creating real jobs. I mean the EPWP’s are not really jobs,” Mahano said.

-Ntombi Nkosi