Unemployment has decreased only very slightly in Cape Town since 2001, when 29,2% unemployment was reported in the national census (Stats SA, 2001). During the period 2004 to 2006,
unemployment decreased from 23,4% to 15,1%. However, since 2006, there has been a steady rise in unemployment, with joblessness reaching over 20% from 2008 (Quantec, 2004; Stats SA, 2001 – 2010).
In 2010, 24,2% of the labour force7 in Cape Town was unemployed. This is an increase from 20,04% in 2009 and 19,89% in 2008. The unemployment rate for Cape Town is currently higher than that for the Western Cape, where unemployment increased from 18,36% in 2009 to 20,34% in 2010. The number of unemployed people in Cape Town increased by just over 56 000, while the number employed declined by 113 000 from 2009 to 2010. In 2010, almost 10 500 people were discouraged work seekers,8 an increase from 2009 (Stats SA, 2010).
Since 2006, the City’s economic development programmes have created over 40 000 job opportunities, with 8 246 direct opportunities provided in the 2009/10 period, mainly within informal markets, small-business support facilities, Wesgro and the Cape Film Commission.
Jobs created by Cape Town’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) have almost tripled since 2006. Althoug, the City continues to be a net importer of migrant labour, the skilled work pool continues to decline with out-migration of skilled workers and reducing graduate numbers. This
negatively affects the capacity of local business as well as the City as an organisation.
Cape Town received R1,01 billion in total foreign spend in 2009. Of this amount, R94,2 million was secured by Wesgro (the City of Cape Town’s primary direct investment promotion partner) and other sector organisations. The decrease in foreign direct spend in Cape Town has been attributed to the
recent recession, which affected global foreign direct spend.
Facilitating local economic development (LED) is part of the City’s job creation objective, which includes a range of projects land programmes, such as the urban agriculture programme; small, medium and micro-sized enterprise (SMME) business support; and prioritising skills development based on local requirements (Wesgro, 2010; FDI Intelligence, 2010).
The number of employment opportunities could be increased in the longer term through the promotion of entrepreneurship, and incentives for import and export activities. These therefore need to form part of any strategic plans aimed at alleviating unemployment in the city Skills mismatch in terms of the required qualifications and the
limited number of employees with those required technical and academic abilities is an important consideration. This is exacerbated by the growth of the knowledge economy, and requires a coordinated and integrated plan involving the City, the Province and Cape Town-based academic institutions.
If Cape Town is to blaze a trail as a knowledge and innovation centre, the city needs the backing of a workforce that is prepared for an ever-growing services sector and a hightechnology workplace.
A seamless strategic partnership between the City and the Province is important to help ensure that workers are properly equipped with appropriate language, technical and managerial skills – from the early childhood development (ECD) system, which is the City’s responsibility, to the tertiary education system. Infrastructure, facilities and systems need to be aligned in order to optimise these strategies.
The City’s current population estimate of 3,7 million people (according to 2010 figures) exceeds what was anticipated by much earlier projections for 2010. Housing demand in Cape Town currently outstrips the available supply, despite all the City’s best efforts. According to the Housing Directorate’s housing database, 386 590 households are waiting for a housing opportunity. It is also estimated that a further 187 392 households have not registered their names on the database. This estimate is based on the assumption that 54,1% of Cape Town’s total households of 1 060 964 (2010) live on a monthly household income of less than R7 000, which makes them financially reliant on the state for their housing needs.
Catching up on service backlogs in a sustainable and inclusive manner remains a challenge and a priority for the City. High levels of access to basic services have been attained for water supply, solid waste services and cleaning, and refuse removal.
However, the provision of adequate sanitation and electricity still lags behind household target service levels in informal areas. A small percentage of the city’s increasing population still does not have access to basic services. This must be addressed amidst the challenges of limited resources, population growth, increasing densities and decreasing land availability.
In particular, Cape Town faces a challenge in dealing with solid waste in the future, as its landfill capacity is not sufficient for likely waste increases in the medium term (five years). Sources predict current landfill capacity will be depleted by 2012. Although landfill space is available, new landfill sites for additional capacity have not yet been built. A key challenge to waste management is the major impact of any further delay in the issuing of a record of decision for the establishment of a new landfill site to replace existing landfill sites that are nearing capacity.
The existing landfills will not be able to cope with the increasing waste volumes expected over the next five years and beyond. Therefore, the construction and commissioning of a new northern-region landfill site by 2012/13 is a key project for the City.
Various interventions and programmes, some of which are already under way, aim to deal with the waste site issue, such as landfill/dump rehabilitation, new landfill sites, multipurpose transfer stations, the completion of mini-material recovery facilities and waste collection vehicle replacement.
In informal areas, area cleaning and waste collection services through community-based organisations (CBOs) will continue. In addition, education and awareness programmes on waste management and minimisation will also still be implemented in disadvantaged communities.