The government is doing its best‚ working with business and labour‚ to create the right environment for job creation‚ President Jacob Zuma promised.

“Beyond higher education‚ we are acutely aware of the challenges and particularly of unemployment among our youth. Our university graduates sit on street corners and road pavements crying out for something to do‚ anything‚” he told the joint sitting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the Eastern Cape provincial legislature in East London.

The aim of the biannual sitting‚ launched by the NCOP in 2002‚ is to conduct oversight through public hearings.

Political observers have described the unemployment rate as untenable and a ticking time bomb and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said recently that the high youth unemployment rate is a national emergency.

Pres. Zuma said the government wanted to create more opportunities for business to thrive and in doing so‚ address the unemployment crisis.

“Right here in the Eastern Cape‚ government has‚ through the Department of Trade and Industry‚ made possible about R23 billion private sector investment through various incentive programmes that have supported over 33 000 jobs.”

Pres. Zuma said more than R9bn of the investment was made available through the Automotive Incentive Scheme that supported investment from Mercedes Benz SA‚ Volkswagen‚ Goodyear and FAW vehicle manufacturers.

“Last week‚ the Trade and Industry Minister‚ Rob Davies‚ and the Eastern Cape government launched the Komani Industrial Park revitalisation project in Queenstown. This is the fourth industrial park to be launched this year. To date‚ the four launched parks combined employ almost 40 000 people‚” said Zuma.

He reiterated the government’s stance on university fees‚ saying support will be made available to poor students.

“We all support the call to make education accessible to the poor‚ which is why we will continue to expand access for the poor through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.”

During his address Zuma pledged to commit more funds to education. The government would invest more in higher education while continuing to build more schools through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Initiative (Asidi) in the Eastern Cape.

“The Higher Commission will soon release its recommendations on the #FeesMustFall commission of inquiry and we must wait for that in order to know the next step‚” he said.

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