The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government has launched an ambitious job creation initiative designed to address the scourge of youth unemployment, with over 6,000 young people already employed, primarily in the transport sector.
The campaign, named S’thesha Waya Waya, was unveiled by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube at a packed Curries Fountain in Durban, where thousands of recently hired young people gathered, donning their new work uniforms.
These jobs represent the vanguard of an unprecedented employment push in response to South Africa's youth unemployment rate, currently among the highest globally. According to a report by the International Labour Organisation, the youth unemployment rate in South Africa hovers at around 63.3% as of 2023, substantially higher than the global average of 13%.
S’thesha Waya Waya is spearheaded by the Department of Transport as part of the Premier's commitment to fighting unemployment as revealed in her State of the Province Address. It forms a significant part of the War Room on Job Creation, a comprehensive initiative by the provincial government to increase job opportunities and battle poverty and inequality.
Under this initiative, more than 6,000 new employees have been assigned to tasks like the Vukayibambe Routine Road Maintenance Programme, an initiative aiming to equip young people with valuable skills in routine road maintenance. Notably, the programme has already absorbed 4,000 youth in its quest to repair road infrastructure damaged by floods.
The provincial government has also implemented the National Youth Services, Road Safety Ambassadors, the Walking Bus for school road safety crossing, Expanded Public Works Programme, Social Crime Prevention Programme, Graduate Interns, and State Law Graduates. These initiatives aim to empower young people with practical skills and experience, offering them a lifeline amid challenging economic times.
"The Province has established a Jobs War Room that has facilitated over 500,000 job opportunities across various sectors in KwaZulu-Natal via the Expanded Public Works Programme," Premier Dube-Ncube explained. This effort has even seen each department, barring frontline service departments, setting aside R10 million from their budgets for job creation.
During the 2022/23 financial year, the Department of Transport Programmes created 89,297 jobs. The ambitious target for the 2023/24 financial year is to create 292,248 jobs. This commitment is further backed by the announcement that last month, the Expanded Public Works Programme provided 84,348 work opportunities and 23,376 full-time equivalents.
Additionally, the provincial government has enlisted over 1,800 Social Crime Prevention Volunteers under the Department of Community Safety and Liaison. These volunteers are deployed in crime hotspots and have received training in basic crime-fighting techniques.
The government also plans to launch an Integrated Jobs Portal, advertising all job vacancies within the government. This platform aims to streamline the job application process and make it easier for people to find the skills they require.
In conclusion, Premier Dube-Ncube assured the crowd, "For those who cannot access this portal, do not despair; we will make these posts available in every local government office near you."
The launch of S’thesha Waya Waya was also attended by new recruits from the SAPS and eThekwini Metro Police, underlining the multi-sectoral commitment to fighting unemployment. The campaign was presided over by Premier Dube-Ncube, the Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga, and the MEC for Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka.