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Opposition wastes no time in challenging new Finance MEC on her job creation pledge

Published May 17, 2022

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Cape Town - Mirellie Wenger began work on Monday as the new Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC, replacing colleague David Maynier who has been moved to head up Education following Debbie Schäfer’s recent resignation.

As soon as she was sworn- in to office she pledged to make job creation her top priority.

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She said that her mission would be to claw-back the jobs lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which had affected the livelihoods of many in the province.

“I will consider myself on the job, to create jobs in the Western Cape. There can be no greater priority for our province right now, especially given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy and on the livelihoods of many of our residents.”

She said more than just creating jobs, she had higher ambitions to roll back poverty in the Western Cape.

She said to accomplish her objectives she would “proudly embrace the principle that it is the private sector that creates jobs”.

Wenger said that the government’s role was to adopt policies to enable job creation and she was looking forward to collaborating with the new departments of Infrastructure and Mobility, which would be key to attracting investment and job creation.”

Provincial ANC Finance and Economic Opportunities spokesperson Nomi Nkondlo said Wenger’s appointment would bring nothing new.

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“What is the nature and character of the job-creation mantra of the new MEC? Is it premised on high-paying-quality jobs given the steep rise in cost of living in this current economic climate?”

Nkondlo said the DA was known for using conditional grants, especially in infrastructure projects, which they stuffed with EPWP workers and then claimed to have created jobs.

“Most big companies have seen this as an opportunity to reduce their labour cost by off-setting such with what they view as free money from these noble conditional grants by the national government to enable employment and employability of low-skilled persons.”

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EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said that Premier Alan Winde had failed to get the private sector to play a leading role in creating meaningful employment under outgoing MEC David Maynier and was hoping that Wenger would succeed in his stead.

“The fact of the matter is that the policy might be suitable elsewhere in other jurisdictions, but certainly not in this province or South Africa by extension; this is due to our challenges which we inherited from the past.”

Xego said by sticking to this policy, Wenger was being set up for failure and that the EFF believed that it was up to the state to create jobs both directly and indirectly.

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Wenger’s swearing-in by Deputy Judge President of the Western Cape High Court Patricia Goliath came two weeks after that of new Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen.

Winde said the changes to his government were exciting and would add new momentum to its mission to deliver jobs, safety and well-being in the province.

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