The main opposition DA said it was shocked by the announcement that SA's unemployment rate was the highest it had been in 11 years. Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG  - The main opposition Democratic Alliance in Gauteng province said on Wednesday it was shocked by the announcement that South Africa's unemployment rate in the third quarter was the highest it had been in 11 years.

A  quarterly labour force survey (QLFS) report from Statistics South Africa on Tuesday showed the jobless rate rose to 29.1 percent of the labour force in the third quarter, with the number of unemployed people increasing to 6.7 million from 4.5 million a decade ago.

Unemployment in Gauteng province, the country's economic hub, came in even higher at 31 percent.

This is a clear indication that the province is moving backwards instead of forward, the DA's Gauteng shadow member of the executive council for economic development Makashule Gana said on Wednesday.

"The Gauteng provincial government has failed to create employment opportunities for our people, particularly the youth. Premier David Makhura is constantly talking about creating work opportunities for people in Gauteng, but the QLFS results clearly indicate that this strategy is not working," he said.

He said for the 2018/2019 financial year, the premier’s office had failed to meet its set target to assist economically excluded young people in finding job opportunities.

"It's high time that Premier Makhura and his cabinet should go back to the drawing board and rework their strategy to create a province with the right economic environment for the creation of job opportunities," said Gana.

In a separate statement, the Inkatha Freedom Party urged the government to step up its efforts to tackle unemployment, calling the latest jobless rate a disaster. 

"It must not be business as usual. Our people are suffering and therefore it is the duty of the government to create jobs. We also urge the private sector to come on board to tackle unemployment,"  IFP national chairman Blessed Gwala said.

The IFP was concerned that most of the youth who were unemployed had educational qualifications but lacked work experience, making it difficult for them to penetrate the job market, he added.

"Our country is faced with a problem that demands from us as leaders, to take calculated risks in finding solutions. We may not succeed in all the actions we will take, but to be afraid of failure and therefore to do nothing, will not bring us any solution," said Gwala.

The jobs report was released a day before finance minister Tito Mboweni presents his medium term budget policy statement to parliament against the backdrop of lacklustre economic growth which has averaged below one percent per annum over the last decade.

- African News Agency (ANA)