Gauteng challenges the notion that government cannot create jobs

Gauteng’s government is making a dent in unemployment in spite of the popular belief that the government has no business creating jobs.

While some may argue that the government’s role is limited to governance, Gauteng is proving them wrong by contributing to job opportunities, which in turn foster economic growth and prosperity.

Said Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi during the State of the Province address: “In our efforts to address youth unemployment, we launched the Nasi iSpani mass recruitment programme on 16 June 2023.”

As a first-of-its-kind recruitment programme, Nasi iSpani seeks to address unemployment and promote access to job opportunities within the provincial government and its agencies while
improving service delivery.

“When we addressed this house 12 months ago, words such as Nasi iSpani did not exist. To date, just on TikTok alone, videos on how to apply for Nasi iSpani have attracted over 36-million views.”

In terms of numbers, he said, the provincial government could confidently assert that close to 90,000 young people, the same number it takes to fill FNB Stadium, were no longer unemployed, hopeless and without the ability to contribute to their families.

“If we consider that in South Africa, on average, every employed South African supports 2.8 people, that indicates the impact of the Nasi iSpani job opportunities and the number of families we continue to touch daily,” he said.

Since its inception, Lesufi said the programme has created many job opportunities for solar technicians, created a green army to clean and green the townships, and created crime prevention wardens to assist law enforcement. A number of other jobs exist in early childhood development and building inspection, he said.

Said Lesufi: “Our province will forever defend the interests of young people. When information reached us that the 32,000 young people contracted in the education assistants programme were going to join the list of the unemployed, this government that I have the honour to lead convened all 32 000 on 11th of February 2024, at Dobsonville Stadium so that we could hand over their appointment letters.”

He said they extended their contracts by six months, which will provide much-needed cushioning until the national government steps in.

“No sunrise will find us where the sunset left us. Days are never counted backwards! Going forward, we are taking Nasi iSpani to the next level!”

Lesufi said the province will collaborate with the National Department of Higher Education (DHET) and the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) to create more jobs.

“We are targeting 40 000 young people on the Nasi Ispani database to take advantage of the 333 opportunities in the labour activation programmes to be launched in April 2024 by the DEL.”

Additionally, TVET colleges working with DHET will provide skills transfer and training to participants. Financially disadvantaged students will also have access to the programme, he said.

According to Lesufi, the province partnered with Diageo to offer 40 000 learners’ licence opportunities during Transport Month, and 10 000 of them will be reserved for motorbike licences.

This ground-breaking project is a collaboration between the province, the Transport Education and Training Authority, Radah Skills Academy, UberSA, BoltSA and Takealot.

He continued: “Our commitment remains to expanding opportunities for young people. But the government cannot do this alone. We call on the private sector to continue to partner with us.”

Among Lesufi’s flagship projects are the crime prevention wardens, employing almost 7 000 despondent people, he said.

He said that, in keeping with the ethos of an inclusive society, the provincial government ensured that coloured and Indian communities were included through special recruitment that saw over 2 000 young people from these communities become wardens.

On December 12 2023, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services  Ronald Lamola granted crime prevention wardens peace officer status, he said.

He said the wardens had received extensive basic training from the South African National Defence Force.

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