Published On: Fri, Jul 10th, 2020

Free State government in bid to revive provincial economy

The Free State government says it has developed an economic recovery plan to revive several industries which have been forced to close. The worst affected areas are in QwaQwa and Botshabelo.

Government has also conceded that water shortages and frequent power cuts have eroded investor confidence in the troubled Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality.

In the video below, Maluti-A-Phofung residents decry water and electricity crisis:

Several firms have shut down in QwaQwa and thus worsening unemployment in the area.

Service delivery has crumbled in the cash-strapped Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality. For the second consecutive year, the municipality has failed to submit financial statements to the Auditor-General.

Frustrated young people are now forced to devise alternatives means to earn money and put food on the table. One of them, 28-year-old Ntsoaki Masoeu has been a street vendor for the last five years.

“I have my matric, I have my diplomas. I always apply on the shops and there’s no response and the firms are not working. Every now and then they close down. There’s no work here in QwaQwa,” Mosoeu says.

33-year-old Gail Mofokeng has also been a street trader for five years.

“As a new generation, we don’t have a job. We are selling we are making our own market even though it’s difficult,” says Mofokeng.

Maluti-A-Phofung was placed under administration in February 2018 due to the collapse in governance. The area has also experienced a series of violent service delivery protests.

Thabo Mofutsanyana EFF Secretary, Mohau Molwelwe, says they remain unapologetic in their demand for service delivery.

“They must bring back the electricity to the people of Maluti-A-Phofung, 100% electricity must be given to Eskom. They must stop undermining the dignity of a Black person in particular Maluti-A-Phofung.”

Dikwankwetla Party leader, Moeketsi Lebesa, is less optimistic.

“No investors would want to invest his money in an area where there is no water, where there is no electricity. Even the biggest firm in Harrismith Nestle wants to pull out of Maluti-A-Phofung because of aging and decaying infrastructure.”

Government said it will cost more than R2 billion to resolve the water crisis in Maluti-A-Phofung. It has also blamed illegal connections for continuous power cuts in the area.

Free State Economic Development Spokesperson, Kgotso Tau, says they are doing their best to implement the economic recovery plan.

“The intention is to identify certain sectors that can grow faster and match them with other suppliers in order to make sure that we retain the jobs that we have and then we are creating new jobs.”

The Free State Treasury has allocated R36 million to the Free State Development Corporation. The allocation includes transfers to the Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone.

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Free State government in bid to revive provincial economy