The Eastern Cape hopes to create 116 958 jobs in the coming financial year, Premier Noxolo Kiviet said on Friday.
Delivering the State of the Province Address, the premier said although the country’s unemployment rate had decreased, the provincial unemployment rate of 27.1% was still high.
"However, we are pleased to report that out of a target of 94 504 job opportunities announced for Phase 2 of the Expanded Public Works Programme, a total of 110 472 work opportunities have to date been created in the province… In the coming financial year, our target is to create 116 958 work opportunities," she explained.
Despite the uncertainty in the global economy, the province’s two Industrial Development Zones (IDZs) were delivering much needed investment, with the East London IDZ securing private investors to the tune of R4.063 billion in the automotive, aquaculture, agro-processing, renewable energy and business process outsourcing sectors.
Of the R4.063 billion, R3.3 billion is for two renewable energy projects – the Langa Renewable Energy Project in Berlin, and the Ikhwezi Photovoltaic Project.
"It is clear that our focus on the green economy is starting to pay dividends," said Kiviet.
The other zone, the Coega IDZ, now has 21 operating investors, which represents R1.24 billion in private sector investments. To date, this has created 3 645 construction jobs, and 2 985 direct jobs.
Additionally, the Coega IDZ has a R7.6 billion pipeline of projects being implemented.
In the State of the Nation Address earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma announced that a dam was to be built in the former Transkei part of the province — using the Umzimvubu River as the source — in order to expand agricultural production. The province had already conducted feasibility studies.
"Other water infrastructure development projects include seawater desalination in Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred, which is at feasibility stage," she explained.
The province has concluded talks with power parastatal Eskom to invest over R10 billion in energy infrastructure over the next six years, including the increasing transfer of power to the Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipalities. It will also strengthen the integration of the KwaZulu-Natal – East London line, which will also improve energy supply to Mthatha and the rest of the province.
"We are pleased to announce that the Alfred Nzo region will be serviced by Eskom in the Eastern Cape, and no longer KZN as it has been the case," said Kiviet.
With respect to road infrastructure, construction on the N2 Wild Coast, which will cost approximately R9 billion, will commence as soon as all preparatory processes have been finalized.
"It is estimated that this project will create well in excess of 6 800 direct jobs and open up the Wild Coast and key towns such as Port St. Johns for investment and economic development."
Source: BUA News
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