Share this article

YOUTH in the inner city have been given an opportunity to earn while they learn through Region F’s new Zakheni-Ikageng project.
YOUNG people have jobs and the inner city is being cleaned – both a result of Project Zakheni-Ikageng.

Nathi Mthethwa, Region F's director, says Project Zakheni-Ikageng will eliminate urban decayNathi Mthethwa, Region F's director, says Project Zakheni-Ikageng will eliminate urban decayThe project, which will provide young people with skills training and job opportunities, was launched by Region F in Berea on Friday, 4 February. It falls under the City’s participation in the national Expanded Public Works Programme, and is aimed at reducing high levels of unemployment.

“Project Zakheni-Ikageng is aimed at cleaning and eliminating urban decay, at the same time creating employment and putting bread on the table of some community members in Region F,” said Region F’s director, Nkosinathi Mthethwa.

He explained that 209 young people living in the inner city had been recruited to participate in the project. Their duties would include sweeping and cleaning the region, re-instating brickwork, repairing broken signage, removing illegal posters and graffiti, and beautification and transformation of illegal dumping sites.

The youngsters would also be taught urban management skills.

Ntombi Mthembu, one of those taking part, who lives in Berea, said participating in the project would help to ease her frustrations regarding not getting a job. “After completing my matric I did not have money to proceed to university, so I went to college to study call centre management, where I have acquired a certificate. I have been looking for a job for over two years now with no success.”

A project of this nature would give her the skills needed by the job market. “My life will be better now that I will be earning a salary at the end of the month, at the same time learning valuable skills.”

Ntombi Glad to have a job: Ntombi MthembuAnother participant, Rita Mrwebi, who also lives in Berea, said being part of project Zakheni-Ikageng would help a great deal. “I came to Johannesburg with a mission to further my dream of being a professional boxer. Participating in a project like this one will help me in raising money to pay for my travelling expenses, as I will be travelling around looking for opportunities. The project will also equip me with other skills that I will need should I fail to achieve my dream of being a professional boxer.”

The deputy director of the Expanded Public Works Programme, Lulama Ndlovu, said the EPWP, which was a national government priority created in 2003, created more jobs than expected. It was already overreaching the goal of creating one million jobs in its first five years of implementation.

Joburg’s EPWP had exceeded the target of creating 120 000 jobs set in its first five years. “The breakdown is as follows: 100 000 jobs in infrastructure, 7 500 environmental, 10 000 social sectors, 2 500 economic sector.”

Project Zakheni-Ikageng would be looking to create more jobs and at the same time provide young people with skills training in various sectors. Ndlovu said that based on the City‘s performance in creating work opportunities, it would be qualified to receive an incentive grant to enhance its performance.

“The City will continue to make EPWP the basis of job creation and will ensure that all workers in the programme wear their orange attire with pride,” said Ndlovu.

“The City‘s departments, municipal-owned entities and regions are constantly improving their efforts to implement projects using the EPWP guideline. The EPWP programme in the city is meeting its targets and is still growing and gaining momentum.”

Related stories:

City Parks empowers youth
Youth lend a helping hand
State invests in education
Technohub boosts learning
Mentor month at IT centres
Career options opened to learners