Jozi@work, the City of Johannesburg’s most ambitious empowerment and job-creation initiative, is on a roll.
On Tuesday, hundreds of residents packed the Don Mateman Hall in Eldorado Park Extension 5, south of Johannesburg, in a last-minute flurry to grasp as much information as possible from Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Mpho Parks Tau on what the R1 billion new service delivery model held for them.
The information-sharing session was the last in Region G – which includes areas such as Orange Farm, Lenasia and Eldorado Park – before the commencement of the registration of cooperatives and small businesses.
Announced by Mayor Tau during his State of the City Address in April, Jozi@Work is aimed at tackling poverty, inequality and unemployment in the city by contracting cooperatives and small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) to provide the City with service delivery-related services.
This will see work in sectors such as greening, agri-processing, information communication and technology, digital services, energy and construction, and maintenance and repairs of infrastructure being put in the hands of cooperatives and community-based companies.
Mayor Tau told the Eldorado Park information-sharing session that the programme had attracted more than 7 000 people throughout the city since its rollout started several weeks ago.
He said governments all over the world built partnerships with communities to inspire new innovations and speed up service delivery.
He said Jozi@Work was, similarly, a partnership between the City of Johannesburg and local communities to boost the delivery of services in their neighbourhoods.
The Mayor was accompanied by a Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe and three ward councillors.
“We’ve invited companies and businesses to take part in this programme. We’ve already held 25 roadshows, which attracted more than 7 000 people,” he said.
He urged residents to register their cooperatives and SMMEs so they could tap into the opportunities that the programme would bring with it.
"Submit your proposals to us. Those with good proposals will get the approval of the steering committee that will oversee the whole process,” he said.
The programme is aimed at creating 12 329 job opportunities in the 2014-2015 financial year and 38 949 in the 2016-2017 financial year. Similarly, the R1 billion set aside to kick-start the programme will increase to R3 billion in the 2016-2017 financial year.
For every work package assigned through Jozi@Work, cooperatives and small companies doing the work with the City will be backed by a Capability Support Agency (CSA), which will handle all invoicing and payments, make sure that the work is done properly and enable them to rent equipment and buy raw materials.
The CSA will also over a year or two provide training, give advice, offer support and enable access to low-cost loans to ensure the businesses grow beyond the programme and do business with customers other than the City.