Unemployment remains an issue in Gauteng’s two major metros
Mon, 25 Jul 2016 19:28:37
The City of Johannesburg’s Deputy Director of Media Relations, Nthatisi Modingoane says the city is working hard to deal with unemployment.
Unemployment is one of the major challenges facing the country and is one of the issues that will inform voters who to support in the August 3 Local Government Elections.
Political parties have been campaigning across the country, outlining their plans on how they are going to create employment for the youth, should they be voted into power.
Modingoane says the city has put different programmes in place to deal with the problem in the country’s economic hub.
“The City is concerned like the whole country, about the level of unemployment especially among young people, that is why the city has identified targeted interventions that would also assist young people to be able to participate in the economy of the city.”
The city has unveiled a programme called ‘Jozi at Work’ which seeks to assist communities to form cooperatives that would be registered in the city’s database. “They would be able to work as partners of the municipality in delivering services in various neighbourhoods, he explained.
The programme, so far, has registered about 1100 cooperatives that are doing variety of work including clearing of illegal dumping, road markings, refurbishment of council owned infrastructure and so forth.
Click below to listen to Modingoane:
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One other municipality that political parties are battling to gain control over is the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. In June protests erupted in areas around the municipality after the African National Congress (ANC) announced Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate.
Some residents expressed their displeasure of the move by destroying property. They were calling for the incumbent Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to be retained as the mayor, with others acknowledging developments that have been made in the areas during his tenure. However, unemployment remains a challenge in the city, according to Mayoral Spokesperson Blessing Manale.
“Unfortunately the City of Tshwane’s unemployment rate is sitting at just above 17% – which is less than the national average that is for young people. But the overall unemployment rate is at 21.5%. We can proudly say that we have over a million people employed in the city between the ages of 15 and 64.”
Manale says different strategies are being undertaken to eradicate unemployment.
“We have always approached unemployment using two strategies, the first one is to create opportunities through our programmes whereby young people can be employed to gain skills and some basic living allowances, that will be through our Extended Public Works Programmes like operation ‘Vat Ales’ which was mainly aimed at using young people, employ them on a yearly basis, for cleaning, grass cutting, servicing of basic municipal infrastructure including the taking of meter readings.”
Some political parties have criticised the Extended Public Works Programme saying that it is creating unsustainable jobs. Manale says the programme is making a difference in the lives of the people.
“When you look at whether a job is real or not , the first thing is whether the people are earning what is below the poverty lines so that they are not abused, most of them were earning above what a South African would earn , which is triple what would have been a social grant. So the money is there, secondly it is the number of skills that they acquire in the job, and we have been able to determine that a lot of young people are able to exit the EPWP programme with better skills. The third one is whether it is diversified, can people do more than one thing, and we have been able to determine that people learn a number of skills.”
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The call for the youth to start businesses has been echoed by different institutions as part of the solution. The city is empowering young people in this regard.
“But at a much more ambitious level we started our programme called Tshepo ten thousand and through the programme we wanted to empower 10 000 young people by the creation of youth owned enterprises which first and for most render services to the city at competitive rates like all other people in the sector, but secondly to look into youth cooperatives that can also start doing work on the city. That kind of project was done in partnership with the University of Pretoria offering training, Absa Bank offering the financial muscle and back up for those cooperatives. It has seen a lot of young people being employed or starting their own enterprises,” says Manale.
The City of Johannesburg is also working to address issues affecting the informal trade sector.
“On the informal side as well, we have just amended the city’s by laws for informal trading so that we allow and create more spaces and opportunities for people that are in that industry and alleviate congestion, especially in the streets of Johannesburg. We identify certain areas that can be an opened dedicated market to allow people a safer and a cleaner place where they can practice their trade,” says Modingoane.
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