AN employment-creation initiative has produced more than 1000 jobs to help address the high levels of unemployment in the Bay.
The Nangoza Jebe Hall was filled with orange overalls yesterday as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality launched its job creation initiative under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
“When you see people in the metro dressed like this, you know that it is going forward,” Infrastructure Portfolio chairman Councillor Andile Mfunda said, addressing the workers that were recruited by the job creation programmes. Mfunda, the head of a task team that was appointed by mayor Zanoxolo Wayile to drive job creation in the Bay, highlighted the programmes.
“The programme has the objective of providing a safety net by providing a minimum level of regular work opportunities to participants.”
He said that the programme absorbed the youth, military veterans, women and people with disabilities.
“More than a 1000 people have been recruited and we are in the process of recruiting more and the number will increase. That will make a dent in the unemployment.”
Wayile said the programme targeted the most marginalised community members and would reduce poverty and unemployment as well as promoting skills development. “While we welcome the reach and impact that this programme will have on our people, we realised that the task is huge and the backlogs massive, but our efforts here today indicate that these obstacles can be overcome and that progressively people’s lives can be improved.”
Sindile Knockpal and Landiswa Thontsi said they were unemployed but under the new initiative they had learnt about general maintenance and horticulture as well as basic business skills.
“This programme changed my life because I have skills now that will empower me to get a job in the future,” Knockpal said.
Thontsi also said the programme empowered her.
“There was nothing I was doing before, just sitting at home.”
A beneficiary for the youth water leaks repair and maintenance programme appreciated the opportunity because she came from a poor family.
“I am proud of the skills I have been taught and it was all free of charge. Now in ward 20, we will not have any problems with sewage from leaks.”
A beneficiary from the community works programme in Uitenhage said she was thankful, although the incentive of working on the programme was small.
“They say that a half [a loaf] of bread is better than not eating. As workers of the community project, we say thank you. We did not see this project on TV but it has come to us in the metro.”