The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo claims urgent government intervention is needed to prevent massive job losses, unemployment and the escalating skill shortages that continue to hamper the ailing Limpopo economy.
Tourism, mining, and agriculture have proven to be Limpopo’s three main pillars that support the province’s economy.
The party said in a media statement on Tuesday that although the province, which has the second poorest economy in the country after the Eastern Cape, was facing acute job losses in all sectors, agriculture was beginning to make strides in sustaining jobs and showed increased ability to support the economy, as well as quell the economic meltdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the period April to June 2020 Stats SA this week, Limpopo shed 252,000 jobs in this period.
DA provincial leader in Limpopo Jacques Smalle said the quarter-to-quarter losses were experienced in the mining sector, with 17,000 job losses, the manufacturing sector with 31,000 job losses, the transport sector with 19,000 job losses, private households with 7,000 job losses, and the finance sector which had lost 57,000 jobs.
Sectors that experienced the highest job losses according to the statistics are the construction sector, which lost 46,000 jobs, the community and social services sector, which lost 45,000 jobs, and the trade sector, which lost 57,000 jobs.
“It is clear that most sectors experienced losses, but the trading sector, which includes many small business owners, was the hardest hit. The year-on-year job losses for Limpopo’s trade sector was 124, 000,” said Smalle.
He said the year-on-year unemployment rate increase in Limpopo was also alarming, because the unemployment rate year-on-year in Limpopo had increased from 20.3% to 21.9%. Smalle said of more concern was the expanded unemployment rate, which had increased from 5.4% to 46.5%.
This is the second largest increase in the expanded unemployment nationally, with only the Eastern Cape experiencing a higher percentage of 6.3% to 52.8%.
The DA said the latest statistics mean nothing other than confirming that Limpopo now has 1,387,000 employed people, in stark contrast to the 2,986,000 unemployed, discouraged job seekers and economically inactive individuals.
The agricultural sector managed to create 16,000 new job opportunities during the second quarter, despite the many challenges the industry faced daily.
“Our farmers persevere despite droughts, limited government assistance and farm attacks.”
The latest statistics also revealed that Limpopo’s farmers now employ 142,000 farm workers, second only to the Western Cape’s agricultural sector, which employs 197,000 workers.
“The DA calls on the Limpopo executive to safeguard the agricultural sector by implementing a workable rural safety plan, which will not only ensure further job creation, but also guarantee food security.
“The DA will continue to support the right of farmers and ensure they feel safe at all times, in an endeavour to create opportunities on their farms through our court watching briefs and the monitoring of farm attacks,” added Smalle.