The increase in unemployment in the Free State from 36,5% in the second quarter (April to June) to 38,1% in the third quarter (July to September) of 2021 is cause for concern.

Out of a total working age population of 1,9 million only 720 000 are employed with 443 000 people being unemployed. Many people in the province have given up hope of employment and have stopped looking for jobs. More than one million, out of a population of 2,9 million, people in the province are on social grants. They are supported by a mere 190 363 taxpayers in the Free State who contribute to our national tax base (BusinessTech).

Unemployment and poverty contributes to the social decline of our province. The Free State remains one of the poorest provinces in the country and recent crime statistics indicate that serious crimes in the province are increasing. The current situation is unsustainable, and the provincial government and municipalities will have to prioritise spending on creating an environment that is conducive to investment and job creation. Unfortunately, our municipalities where investment is meant to happen are dysfunctional and basic services and infrastructure is declining rapidly. This is also evident at a provincial level where the roads infrastructure that is crucial to the provincial economy is in a state of advanced decay.

The DA has an alternative plan of action in the Free State which we will implement when we govern after 2024.

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Dr Roy Jankielsohn

Dr Roy Jankielsohn is the Democratic Alliance Leader of the opposition in the Free State.

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