Update on the Western Cape Government’s recovery plan for jobs and the economy
In October, I announced the Western Cape Government’s recovery plan which focuses on three key areas: jobs, safety and dignity and wellbeing.
Covid-19 and the hard lockdown had a significant impact on the people of this province- unemployment across the country has increased significantly, and the lives and livelihoods of many have been severely affected by job losses, and business closures.
The Western Cape Government set to work on devising a recovery plan as early as June and we have approached it with the same energy and hard work as we have poured into our Covid-19 response.
And while the province is currently experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, we have not lost sight of the commitments we have made.
The Western Cape’s recovery plan has put in place a number of immediate interventions, as well as interventions which will take place over the medium term.
As part of our “jobs now” interventions, the province implemented a number of measures to support jobs in the private sector, and we have fast tracked projects and reprioritised budgets in the public sector to support job creation.
Our interventions in the private sector have created or sustained 7493 opportunities, and over 3000 businesses have been provided with support or relief.
Within the public sector there were a total of 1 080 provincial projects that provided 27 000 work opportunities. Of this total, an estimated 6 531 provincial full time equivalent work opportunities have been provided.
As a province, we committed to improving ease of doing business, reducing red tape, increasing export support, growing investment, and growing consumer and investor confidence. To date we have:
- Recruited over R1.3 billion in investment into the province.
- Allocated R27 million in relief funding to 249 small businesses.
- Provided support to the wine tourism sector to pay monthly stipends to 1333 staff members.
- Provided relief funding to 753 people in the sports, arts and culture sectors.
- Provided support to 3 business chambers, supporting 6000 businesses .
- Finalised 9 EIA cases with a total investment value of R13 million.
- Intervened to make it possible for the refit and maintenance on the Gariep mining vessel to go ahead.
- The Department of Transport and Public Works has reduced the abnormal load embargo period which support the movement of loads where necessary. 882 permits were issued in October 2020 and 840 in November 2020.
- Between August and November 2020, 2849 Early Childhood Centres were assisted with PPE to assist these centres to reopen.
Economic data indicates that consumer confidence in the province has improved, however, negative sentiment remains. The province has also recorded an increase in business confidence from 19 points in quarter 2, to 43 points in quarter 3. We have also seen a significant improvement in business confidence.
The province also continues to provide support to businesses to help grow their exports and we are starting to see the gap between imports and exports in the province close.
- Job creating infrastructure projects to build human settlements and roads are underway across all districts in the province.
- The Department of Transport and Public Works has allocated R23 million in funding to upscale the clearing of vacant erven.
- EPWP opportunities are being used in municipalities across the province at schools, for alien clearing, beach cleaning, and cleaning of communities and neighbourhoods.
- R10 million has been allocated for rail reserve clearing in partnership with PRASA
- The Department of Community Safety has allocated funding for the appointment of 1000 safety ambassadors creating 1000 new jobs.
- 423 young people have been provided with their first work opportunities, and an additional R4 million in this financial year has been allocated to increase that number. This will provide opportunities for unemployed matriculants in ECD and schools by helping to build a culture of literacy and numeracy, while simultaneously providing the young people with personal and professional development.
These are just some of the interventions that we have undertaken in order to save jobs, and to create new ones. A job is not just a nice to have- it is the difference between putting food on the table and starving. It is a pathway towards a better life, dignity and well-being. It provides opportunities that mean that those who do not have jobs, do not have to turn to crime and illegal activity to survive.
Earlier this year, I made a deal with the residents of the province. I committed that the Western Cape Government would do everything it can to support business, to fight off further lockdowns and to ensure that we save the jobs our people so desperately need. In return, I asked that we all work to flatten the curve of Covid-19- so that we can keep people safe and we can avoid the second pandemic of unemployment.
That deal is still on the table and it is now more important than ever that we continue to flatten the curve- to save lives, and to save jobs.