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Unemployment in Bushbuckridge a social predicament

High unemployment in Mpumalanga’s Bushbuckridge Municipality is a social predicament faced by many of the province’s residents.

 

Only less than 15% of the municipality’s residents are employed despite it being a presidential nodal point.

Residents rely mostly on agriculture and tourism as a source of employment.

The Bushbuckridge Municipality is one of the five local municipalities under the Ehlanzeni District Municipality.

Formerly under the Limpopo province, a decision was taken by the national government to transfer it to Mpumalanga. But it was only incorporated into Mpumalanga a few years later.

It borders the popular tourist destination, the Kruger National Park.  The municipal area is regarded as a gateway to other major tourist attraction sites such as Hoedspruit, Pilgrim’s Rest, and Graskop among others.

The municipality consists of 135 residential areas and is divided into 34 wards.

With just over a month left before the local government elections on August 3, delivery of basic services to the people of Bushbuckridge remains a challenge.

However, the out-going Bushbuckridge executive mayor Renius Khumalo says the municipality is doing all it can to ensure that the delivery of basic services is no longer just a promise.

Most of the people in the municipality live in brick houses. Approximately 27.4% of the community lives in mud houses and these are particularly found in the deep rural areas.

Informal settlements are also found in this municipality at over 2%. Khumalo says the municipality is looking at housing such people in integrated settlements.

“The Department of Human Settlement does not give us less than 500 houses every financial year now we are distributing them in various villages because we have to intervene in most of the areas. We are establishing  new townships, four townships have been approved by Human Settlement for communities in Bushbuckridge. The first one that is currently receiving serious attention is  Komane around Rolle where we actually have over 200 sites that would be serviced for community three, for RDP houses and also low cost houses and other houses,” says Khumalo.

With only less than 15% of the people in the area employed, Khumalo says the municipality is finding ways to create more employment opportunities for locals.

The municipality is currently under the control of the African National Congress (ANC) with the Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA) as the main opposition party.

However, political parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Congress of the People (COPE), Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), African People’s Convention (APC) have made their ambitions known of being in control of the municipality through their election campaigns.

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