Pretoria - The plight of the unemployed in the city and around the country was highlighted yesterday when hundreds of job hunters flocked to the City Hall in the hope of landing one of 900 cleaning jobs.
Since the beginning of the week, people have been queuing at the office of a private cleaning company in Paul Kruger Street to submit their CVs, hoping to be shortlisted for the jobs.
Such scenes have been witnessed at other places around the city and across Gauteng as thousands of people respond to advertised jobs, mainly those that do not require tertiary qualifications.
A 2011 study commissioned by the City of Tshwane’s local economic development directorate shows that unemployment in the city increased from 212 671 in 2008 to 272 450 in 2010, representing a 28.1 percent increase.
The study, conducted by Unisa’s Bureau of Market Research, showed most of the unemployed in the capital had dropped out from school without completing matric.
The desperation for jobs could not have been more evident than the death of seven young people who died while undergoing fitness tests for jobs at the Kwazulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate last year.
More than 15 500 people had taken part in the tests despite only 90 jobs being available.
A total of 150 000 applied for the 90 jobs, with 34 000 of them receiving text messages to report to the Harry Gwala Stadium for the tests.
And in January, about 100 000 people responded to an advertisement for 1 000 posts in the Tshwane Metro Police, queuing for hours just to hand in their CVs and hoping to be contacted for interviews.
As early as 6am yesterday, people had already been queuing in Paul Kruger Street, only to be met with a sign outside the office saying no more CVs were being accepted.
Detecting the desperation of those trying to get jobs, some people tried to defraud the job seekers by soliciting bribes in exchange for “facilitating their placement quicker”.
Some were being told they could already pick up uniforms at Meforum Hospital, but they were turned back as the hospital knew nothing about the arrangement.
Rumours were circulating that there were more jobs at 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane. But this was denied by Moment to Serve Cleaning Services, the company behind the recruitment drive.
Gauteng Department of Labour spokesman, Mishack Magakwe, said they were alarmed when they heard the department’s name was being used in the recruitment drive.
After speaking to the directors of the company, it was established that the rumours were false. Job seekers were urged to register on the department’s database of unemployed people looking for work.
“We have a database of unemployed people who are seeking work. Many people have been employed through this because we actively approach companies with vacancies to place people.
“We have senior employment practitioners who canvass companies to employ the job seekers. We also help to prepare them for interviews by doing research on the companies and finding out what they require.
“Even entry level jobs at our department are not advertised, we simply get people from the database,” said Magakwe.
He urged job seekers to verify the status of the companies offering work to avoid being defrauded .
A request to pay money upfront was one of the signs of a dubious recruitment drive, he said.
Moment to Serve Cleaning Services director, Sulene Ross, said the company was planning to place the applicants in various cleaning jobs from contracts that had been secured.
“Many people handed in their CVs, more than the number of jobs we have. It is unfortunate that some will try to use this to defraud people. We had police here because there were just too many people.”
The local councillor helped the company to use the city hall to keep the job hunters from congesting the pavements, she said.