Investments totalling R3.4 billion in the East-London Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) come as a huge boost for the economic recovery of the Eastern Cape. The investment is in the automotive sector – the backbone of the province’s economy.

Sixteen companies have invested as part of the initiative that has the potential to create more than 2 000 direct jobs. The Eastern Cape – at over 45% – still has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

The CEO of the East London Industrial Development Zone, Simpiwe Kondlo, says the IDZ is making its mark in the fight against unemployment.

“I think this is very important as we today getting the announcement of levels of unemployment and job statistics in our country. This is to say as Eastern Cape East London IDZ, we’re making a contribution in denting the levels of unemployment as we are seeing more than 2 085 direct jobs being created with more indirect jobs in the supply chain that are being created through this investment. So this is an important milestone for us as EL IDZ.”

The Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane says there is much to be done to bring down the high rate of unemployment.

“This province has been isolated sort of being detached from the national economic hub. We are trying very hard to turn around the situation and look at our economic fortunes. As a province, we create more diversity. We have been relying on the manufacturing sector for a long time, particularly the auto sector. It has been caring us. We are quite appreciative of that but clearly, we need more economic sectors that must help.”

Meanwhile, The official unemployment rate in South Africa has risen to a new record high of 34.9% according to Statistics South Africa.
South Africa’s record unemployment rate rises further to 34,9%: Cosatu reaction