Cape Town 091214. Premier Helen Zille briefs the media about her Governments modernization process. PHOTO SAM CLARK, Argus, Andisiwe

Unemployment in South Africa must be approached in the same way as the World Cup, with red tape stripped away so investment can flow, DA leader Helen Zille said on Sunday.

In her weekly newsletter, SA Today, Zille said President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation speech had shown that the government understood what was needed for job creating economic growth.

This type of growth was driven by the private sector through small, medium and micro enterprises, she said.

“The job of the state is to create an environment that will attract and retain investment, entrepreneurship and skills,” said Zille.

In the global economy, the state had to ensure that conditions existed for businesses to be internationally competitive.

This meant the provision of excellent infrastructure, including water, energy, technology, transport and roads and sewage systems.

Zille had strong words on the failure of local government, and said it had been brought to its knees by the deployment of incompetent cadres.

“Unless local government works well, infrastructure-led growth cannot get off the ground,” she said, using Limpopo as an example.

Five key departments in that province are now under the administration of the national government.

Transnet, and specifically the huge inefficiency of the railways, was another example.

“Just a few weeks ago the Western Cape lost a multi-million rand job creating investment in the West Coast because of Transnet's inefficiency.”

The president's announcement of a reduction of port charges was praised by Zille.

“It creates a greater incentive for ships and oil rigs to stop in our ports for maintenance, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs,” she said.

The incentive was not great enough though, to compensate for the endemic inefficiency of the port authorities.

Zilla said corruption had to be addressed. It was largely going unpunished and was a major impediment to the future growth of the country.

The Manase Report, released after an investigation into the City of eThekwini (Durban), had revealed how a small coterie of well-placed, corrupt individuals could bring an entire government to its knees.

“The report and the picture that it paints of a city rotten to its core, could not have presented a better reality check to the president's optimistic plans,” Zille said.

Unless we can end corruption, South Africa cannot be internationally competitive and attract job-creating investment, she said.

Skills training in South Africa needed an overhaul, while red tape standing in the way of skilled foreigners wanting work in the country had to be removed.

“Anyone who uses an opportunity productively, creates an opportunity for someone else.”

South Africa could learn a lot from the World Cup: cutting away red tape, getting the right skills for the job and punishing corruption was the way forward. - Sapa