Deal with unemployment and unaffordable higher education, KZN Premier told ahead of SOPA
Durban - Some KwaZulu-Natal residents have requested that Premier Sihle Zikalala tell them how he is going to deal with unemployment, illegal immigrants and unaffordable higher education, when he delivers his State of the Province Address (SOPA) next week.
Zikalala is set to deliver his SOPA in Pietermaritzburg on March 4, a day after King Goodwill Zwelithini opens the provincial legislature.
Zikalala on Thursday morning visited Chesterville in Durban to allow residents to give their input into his SOPA address.
Although the issue of higher education fell under the national government, University of KwaZulu-Natal student Philani Ntanda said he believed that the provincial government could help to fast track the issue of free education.
“Each and every year there are strikes at UKZN because of this free education issue. When you don’t have access to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) you are compelled to pay from your own pocket.
“We want this government to help make sure that all students receive free education,” said Ntanda.
KZN has a population of 10.27 million and an unemployment rate of 26%, according to last year’s Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) survey.
Zikalala together with Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli boarded a minibus taxi, which was accompanied by a blue lights convoy to the Durban CBD.
One of the passengers, Mansi Radebe, was concerned about the high unemployment rate in the province.
“People are complaining about the high rate of unemployment, and the fact that there are too many illegal immigrants who are dominating the work space. When I grew up I would say that I would never work as a street sweeper, but right now everyone is desperate for that job because there are no better jobs,” said Radebe.
Zikalala said through his walkabout in Chesterville he had realised that unemployment was the main concern in the province.
“In many other areas where we interacted with people unemployment and creation of job opportunities was prominent. Another issue is that most jobs, especially those that are general, are occupied by illegal immigrants. We are going to analyse what people have told us and include those views in our SOPA,” said Zikalala.
He said his SOPA would build up from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech, which he described as “very good”.
“The priority (of SOPA) is to ensure that we deliver effective governance because while we have good policies we need to ensure that all programmes are implemented effectively and efficiently.
“We are going to present what would be our steps and how far we have gone in dealing with corruption,” said Zikalala.