Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office has rejected claims by the DA that the 31% unemployment rate in the province was due to the government’s alleged failure to provide jobs.

On Wednesday, Makashule Gana, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on economic development, said Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke’s revelation of Gauteng’s rate of 31% was a clear indication that the province was “moving backwards, instead of forward”.

“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 Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) results clearly indicate that this strategy is not working,” Gana said.

He said for the 2018/2019 financial year, the premier’s office allegedly failed to meet the target it set for ensuring that the economically excluded youth were assisted in finding jobs.

“In addition, the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) also failed to assist 75 youths through the Youth Accelerator Programme during the first financial quarter of 2019. Programmes like the one run by the premier’s office and GEP are important as they play a pivotal role in ensuring that the unemployedare given skills and training."

He said Makhura should go back to the drawing board to revise their strategy but Makhura’s office has denied the claims.

Makhura’s spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga disputed Gana’s statements, saying the provincial government and its entities were doing enough to provide jobs despite the growing immigration to Gauteng.

“Unemployment is a national matter. Gauteng attracts more people than any other province, mainly seeking for job opportunities.

“Gauteng has employed more people quantitatively and the quality of life is much better than anywhere in South Africa,” Mhaga said.

He said the government would continue to employ more people through its Tshepo One Million programme and to help fund small businesses to also create jobs.

“We appreciate the challenges we face in relation to unemployment, however, and we remain confident that the plans we have are adequate to respond to these challenges,” Mhaga said.

Gana's claims were made despite the fact that Gauteng has the second- lowest number of people who had lost hope of ever finding a job.

Political Bureau