Chipping away at joblessness

Eighteen percent of Kraaifontein residents are unemployed and just over 10 percent have a tertiary education, according to the most recent data from Stats SA.

There are several initiatives in the area to turn the tide of poverty these statistics are carried on, but how effective are they really?

According to Grant Twigg, the work created by the City’s job seekers programme is a “druppel in die emmer”.

Mr Twigg said the programme gave those registered with it a chance to work with contractors or on City projects.

“But it doesn’t employ hundreds of people at a time. It is based on the needs of the contractor,” he said.

The contractors could also get work by registering with the City but many did not know that after doing so they still had to check online regularly for tenders.

“People complain that the tenders all go to people from other areas, but they don’t realise that those people go back and check for tenders and apply,” Mr Twigg said.

Ward 6 proportional councillor Xoliswa Pakela-Mapasa is working an employment agency, Capacity, to chip away at the poverty in her ward. “Where I am working now, there is too much poverty. It’s unbearable,” she said.

Ms Pakela-Mapasa approached the agency to take the CVs of people from the ward. It had worked well, and she would try to involve more agencies, she said.

Mala Govender, Capacity’s resource manager, said not everyone who had come through Ms Pakela-Mapasa’s office had been able to get work. About one in five, she estimated, would meet the requirements: a Grade 10 and no criminal record, among other things.

Some firms only wanted people with at least a Grade 12, she said.

Zoliwe Thame, 27, a mother of two from Bloekombos, is battling to find work. “I did work at Pick * Pay for three months,” she said.

However, she had had to ditch that job because her mom, who had been looking after her and another relative’s children, had not been coping.

Ms Thame said she either cold called companies for work and left her details or listened out for vacancies through word of mouth. She has not tried employment agencies or the City’s job seekers programme.

Not having a job, however, hasn’t stopped her from acquiring new skills, and she has gone for basic computer training and volunteered at local pre-school.

“The main thing is experience,” she said. “I did voluntary work at the creche hoping to get experience. Maybe I would get a job there and then get enough money to study.”

In his State of the Nation address last Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said 10 000 unemployed young people would be trained as plumbers, artisans and water agents to curb water losses.

“More will be recruited this year to reach the total of 15 000,” he said.