Job creation is top of the agenda, from the president down. Through its commitment to the Expanded Public Works Programme, the City of Joburg is doing its bit to get people employed.
IN his state of the nation speech in February, President Jacob Zuma declared 2011 the year of job creation; in her state of the province address a fortnight later, the premier of Gauteng, Nomvula Mokonyane, sang the same tune.
Jason Ngobeni, the City's executive director of economic developmentJason Ngobeni, the City's executive director of economic developmentAnd the City of Joburg has the same hymn sheet as the national and provincial governments.
According to the City’s executive director of economic development, Jason Ngobeni, Joburg is making use of all opportunities created by the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to grow employment through labour-intensive projects.
The EPWP is a national government initiative aimed at creating temporary work for the unemployed and ensuring that they gain skills. The fundamental strategy is to increase economic growth so that the number of new jobs being created starts to exceed the number of new entrants into the labour market.
“EPWP is a priority for the City, and all departments and municipal-owned entities [MOEs] are required to focus on projects that can deliver more opportunities for employment,” Ngobeni explains.
The City adopted an EPWP policy in 2004, which was implemented in 2005. The target for its first phase was to create 150 000 jobs by the end of 2009, but Joburg exceeded this objective by creating 153 835 employment opportunities.
The second phase is in progress and the City is confident that it will make a significant contribution towards the national target of creating 4,5 million job opportunities by 2014.
“Job creation, training and development go hand in hand,” Ngobeni says. “In the current EPWP phase, the City is focusing on the creation of learnerships, skills development and programmes in recognition of prior learning.”
Through its MOEs, Joburg has over 60 000 job opportunities in its pipeline for this year. The department of economic development will also, as part of its EPWP, launch the Job Skills Development Placement Programme.
This will be aimed at unemployed matriculants, graduates and ex-convicts. It will give them skills training in plumbing, bricklaying, mining, information and communications technology, the arts, manufacturing and logistics.
Joburg Water replaces old water pipes in SowetoJoburg Water workers replace ageing water pipes in SowetoThrough the project, some 1 000 work opportunities will be created for a period of 12 months. According to Ngobeni, 20 percent of these jobs are expected to be long term, while 40 percent will be directed towards skills for self-employment.
In the past, the City has created jobs through a number of projects including Operation Gcin’amanzi, I-Jozi Ihlomile, Johannesburg City Parks, Lufhereng and Orlando Ekhaya.
Operation Gcin'amanzi, a massive R880-million Johannesburg Water project to upgrade ageing infrastructure in Soweto, is aimed at improving service delivery by upgrading municipal water reticulation pipes and fixing leaking in-house plumbing fixtures that contribute to the loss of water in the township.
The project began with a request from the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs to water services authorities, including the City of Johannesburg, to address the impending crisis around water usage countrywide.
In response, the City began an investigation into water losses within its boundaries and discovered that Soweto accounted for 60 percent of water losses, largely because of poor and ageing infrastructure. Then was born Operation Gcin'amanzi, which had a number of dimensions:
To upgrade dilapidated infrastructure;
To support households with basic plumbing problems such as leaking pipes, cisterns and broken taps;
Education and awareness raising; and
The introduction of pre-paid meters to assist households with debt management and the City of Johannesburg with credit control.
This project was set up to reduce water wastage and enable residents to manage their consumption. More than 110 000 houses have been serviced and some 11 379 jobs created.
In addition, 477 local plumbers and contractors were trained and gained sufficient experience to use in their communities and even small businesses should they choose to pursue that venture.
Another EPWP project undertaken by the City is I-Jozi Ihlomile, an HIV/Aids awareness programme that encourages community involvement. Through the campaign, volunteers – especially women and young school leavers – are trained to visit homes, informal settlements and hostels to provide educational information about testing and health support services.
The Lufhereng housing development is creating scores of employment opportunities in SowetoThe Lufhereng housing development is creating employment opportunities in SowetoSome 445 volunteers were trained and the programme is currently active in 18 areas. The volunteers, who were previously without any form of income, are paid a monthly stipend of R500, which helps improve the quality of their lives.
Johannesburg City Parks manages the city’s parks, cemeteries, open green areas, street trees and conserved spaces. It is responsible for a range of capital and maintenance projects that form part of the EPWP objectives. The company has created 2 966 jobs and training for its employees.
Lufhereng, a joint initiative between the Joburg and the Gauteng departments of housing, is another EPWP. The housing development is the province’s largest mixed housing estate.
The name Lufhereng is derived from a Venda word and a Sesotho word, “lufhera” and “reng”, respectively. The combined word refers to a place where people come together with a united commitment.
It was conceived and initiated by the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng department of local government and housing as a large scale, mixed income, mixed type and mixed tenure housing development. Once complete, it is expected to yield 24 000 houses, with schools, clinics, sports fields and recreational amenities making up a sustainable community.
The project will include a significant component of urban agriculture, through small-scale intensive urban agriculture, open-field plots, hydroponic farming units and fish breeding schemes.
The project has the potential to create 10 000 EPWP jobs through its agricultural hub.
Another EPWP initiative in Joburg is Orlando Ekhaya, a project by the City’s Johannesburg Property Company (JPC). It is the largest and most ambitious development ever to be undertaken in the history of Soweto.
It will transform Orlando Power Station and its cooling towers into a sought-after destination for investment, business and tourism. Costing more than R1-billion, the development is expected to be a captivating mix of retail, office, residential, entertainment and recreation spaces.
High-level objectives of the project include: empowering the unemployed to become skilled workers and employable; and transforming the area into a sought-after destination for investment.
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Orlando Ekhaya takes shape
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