Gauteng intensifies battle against unemployment

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Johannesburg - In the next three years, the Gauteng Provincial Government is expected to provide 40 000 job opportunities through its Community Works Programme.

The programme will provide an employment safety net to individuals while alleviating poverty through a stable income of R150 a day for two days in a week and 100 days in a year.

Areas expected to benefit from this programme this year include Orange Farm, Alexandra, Westonaria and Soweto.

MEC for Economic Development Firoz Cachalia explained that this was a short term intervention for the poor and was not the decent work the government talked about.

"Optimum participation in the programme is expected to grow by 1 000 people per site per annum to an average of 4 000 people," said Cachalia, adding that the programme would operate at 65 percent labour intensity, where 65 percent of the costs are for wages.

He explained that the programme targeted people at ward level in order to build up and improve the services and infrastructure available.

"This programme has the potential to trigger the expansion of businesses and increasing incomes in the poorest areas," he said.

The department has also put a plan in place to promote employment of school leavers.

Cachalia said this was Gauteng's intervention to promote youth employability.

It also aims to address factors that contribute to high levels of youth unemployment, including poor work readiness and difficulties acquiring a first job as employers often wanted prior experience or a reference.

The programme is targeting 23 948 school leavers over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Cachalia said the Expanded Public Works Programme would provide employment to a million people; including women, youth and people with disabilities by 2014.