Document: Juggling Jobs: Assessing the New Growth Path and National Development Plan Job Targets
Despite the various national economic programmes and reforms since 1994 - namely the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP); the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) programme; and the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGiSA) - high levels of poverty and inequality persist in our country. This is deeply problematic for a number of social, economic, environmental, and political reasons. With official unemployment hovering at 25%, around 40% of people living in poverty, and having one of the world’s highest levels of inequality, South Africa urgently needs to effectively “improve living standards and ensure a dignified existence for all South Africans” (National Development Plan, 2011: 90).
These national realities manifest on both provincial and local levels. KwaZulu-Natal is one of the poorest and most populous provinces in South Africa. The most recent 2010 statistics have eThekwini municipality at an official unemployment rate of 21.8% (with significant variations across population groups) and the number of people living in poverty at 1,106,024, which is approximately 39.1% of the total population. The persistence of the ‘triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality’ was reiterated in the 2012 State of the Nation and KZN Provincial addresses.