Plan to boost youth jobs

But Bobani still opposed to ‘labour broker’, writes Shaun Gillham 

In the absence of its main detractor, deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator on Friday delivered a lengthy presentation to a council standing committee on its proposals to increase youth employment in the Bay.

Harambee, which Bobani asserted is simply “another labour broker”, is courting a R10.7-million partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay administration towards jobs for about 20 000 unemployed young people.

Friday’s presentation followed objections to the partnership by Bobani last month.

It was intended as an opportunity to expose the economic development, tourism and agriculture committee and other leaders in the Bay’s ruling coalition to Harambee’s operations, funding requirements and commitments, should it secure the partnership.

While a municipal partnership with Harambee enjoys majority support in the DA-led Bay council, the go-ahead for the staggered R10.7-million funding hinges on the UDM’s Bobani.

But Bobani told The Herald yesterday that he would continue to oppose municipal funding for the non-profit company.

He said he had attended Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meetings yesterday “to ensure service delivery to the people” instead of attending the Harambee presentation.

“[I don’t know] why the DA is so insistent on giving so much money to these people,” Bobani said.

“I will object to this funding and I call on all other parties to object to funding this partnership.”

Early last month, Bobani objected to the partnership on the basis that the job creation initiative should be put out to tender, and that the partnership could be a “willy-nilly allocation of funding, because tomorrow there might be [another company] that comes and says I can employ 100 000 people”.

Youth unemployment in Nelson Mandela Bay, which the administration has labelled as a crisis, is at a staggering 47.3%

Chaired by councillor Andrew Whitfield, the political head of the municipality’s economic development, tourism and agriculture portfolio, the committee largely applauded Harambee’s presentation yesterday, which was delivered by the company’s special projects manager, Bernard Ngosi, and provincial head Masa Mlamla.

Harambee already has a presence in Port Elizabeth and claims it has placed more than 1 000 “excluded youth” in formal economy jobs in the metro.

It presented a multi-pronged approach to address unemployment among the youth, with its primary services being the provision of work readiness programmes for school-leavers.

The company also sources and matches job candidates to its clients, which range from retailers and hotels to call centres and fast food companies.

Whitfield, who yesterday called on all parties to support the initiative which would give the administration a partner in tackling unemployment, listed a number of reasons why the partnership should be supported.

He said that Harambee held a good track record in finding jobs for the youth and had successfully partnered with the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Whitfield said that if 20 000 young people were placed at a cost of R535 per youth, the partnership would be an excellent value proposition.

“There are a number of other compelling reasons which include that Harambee is audited by the national Treasury and that, should we partner with them, we will receive regular, weekly reports and updates,” Whitfield said.

“They will also commit to targets and the entire process will be totally transparent.

“In addition, any contracts signed will also include an opt-out clause in the event that there is under-performance.”

Whitfield said Harambee would also sink millions of its own rands into tackling local unemployment.

The proposed partnership will be addressed by the council in its next meeting on May 4.

Leave a Reply