FORTY-ONE people who have been appointed on a temporary basis to fill vacant non-teaching positions at Nelson Mandela Bay schools will start their first day tomorrow.
Altogether 330 unemployed people will be appointed and 262 schools in the metro will benefit from the municipality’s Expanded Public Works Programme after mayor Danny Jordaan secured funding for their stipends.
The schools have been battling with the lack of security personnel, caretakers, groundsmen, cleaners and administration staff since the Department of Education announced a moratorium on the appointment of nonteaching staff nearly 20 years ago.
Since then schools have had to pay caretakers, cleaners and secretaries from their own funds.
This was one of the key issues the Northern Areas Education Forum raised in a protest to demand better teaching conditions at schools earlier this year.
After a series of meetings Jordaan instructed the administration to set aside R4.7-million from the municipality’s EPWP grant to assist with the employment of non-teaching staff.
The municipality has also received R1.7-million from Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi for this purpose.
The unemployed people who will be seconded to Uitenhage schools signed their contracts at the Science and Technology Centre yesterday.
Municipal EPWP coordinator Madoda Mcwabeni informed them that their contracts were on a temporary basis and would end on June 30.
They will report to schools tomorrow where they will fill any positions required by the schools.
Mcwabeni said: “When the mayor was listening to the challenges in the metro he felt that education is one fundamental area which we cannot neglect. This funding usually assists with job creation when it comes to service delivery but by assisting in education it may assist in eliminating other challenges later on.”
Mcwabeni said the participants, who would work between 8am and 4.30pm, would receive R80 a day. He said some participants would also receive training in administrative duties, computer work or maintenance tasks.
All participants will also receive a uniform or overalls, depending on their duties.
Mcwabeni said 97 participants would be seconded to schools in the northern areas, while 96 would report to Uitenhage schools.
Six participants will report to Walmer schools, while another six will report to schools in peri-urban areas in the metro, such as Greenbushes.
“Another 125 participants will report to schools in the greater Port Elizabeth area, such as Motherwell, Kwazakhele, New Brighton, Zwide, Soweto, KwaDwesi and KwaMagxaki.
“On exiting the programme the aim is for some of the participants to be empowered with skills in order to pursue employment in the open job market,” he said.
Participants were informed that their stipends depended on an attendance register they signed every day. Principals will take the registers to the Department of Education which will forward them to the municipality for payment.
One of the participants, Angela White, 42, said she was looking forward to being placed at a school.
“I think it is good that the municipality is assisting these schools. I have been unemployed for a long time now so I am looking forward to the work,” she said.
Priscilla Phakela, 23, said she was excited about possible opportunities in the future.
“I will be happy to do the training. We are all struggling to find work and there is not a lot of income so this money will help everyone at home,” she said.