Dimbaza, once an industrial hub near King Williams Town, has for decades been a prime example of how the ANC has failed to build the South African economy and create jobs.
This ghost town, filled with vacant factories, some of which have now been turned into rubble, once supplied work to thousands of poor Eastern Cape residents.
Dimbaza used to be the breadbasket of what was previously known as the Ciskei, with many factories sustaining the local economy before and shortly after 1994. It was a thriving community in the past.
After the ANC’s rise to power, incentives and tax rebates given to companies setting up shop in Dimbaza ceased and most industries moved elsewhere. The town was turned into an industrial graveyard with an estimated unemployment rate of 70%.
Fifteen years ago Damesh Daya was a director of a company that manufactured jeans in Dimbaza. He told us that in its heyday this company employed more than 3 000 local residents.
The recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey indicates that the Eastern Cape has the highest expanded rate of unemployment in the country at 45,8%.
This means that 730 000 people are unemployed in this province and an additional 412 000 have given up looking for work. This has a devastating impact on families who are struggling to put food on the table.
The youth are most affected by the lack of employment opportunities available to them. In South Africa, the youth remain the hardest hit by joblessness, with 67,1% of the 15 – 24-year-old bracket, and 43,2% of the 25 – 34-year-old bracket still unemployed.
“The Eastern Cape needs change to build an inclusive economy that will give our people access to job opportunities,” said Andrew Whitfield, the Democratic Alliance Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
“To this end I will table a motion in the Eastern Cape Legislature to debate the dire unemployment situation in the province.
The debate will focus on creating a growing and reliable economic environment which will stimulate job creation in the Eastern Cape. Where the DA governs, we have a proven track record of reducing unemployment.
Over the last quarter, unemployment in the DA-led Nelson Mandela Bay Metro decreased by 1,3%, added Whitfield.