ONE of our poverty alleviation programmes incepted to address the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality officially began with 14 applicants starting in the unemployed graduate programme at the municipality last Friday.The graduates entered a one-year contract with the municipality that will end in August 2018, at R3 500 a month. They will be capacitated in terms of skills and knowledge in various work fields. On Friday the political leadership and senior management had a meet-and-greet session where we as the leadership made known our expectations from the group in terms of work output and the graduates’ behaviour in the workplace.Graduates have been placed in different sections of the organisation, according to their qualifications. Four graduates were placed in the water services department two in mechanical engineering, one in civil engineering and one in environmental management. Two were placed in the internal audit office, one in the public participation office, two in the youth development office, one in customer relations and communications office, all under the office of the municipal manager. Two were placed at the Ugu South Coast Development Agency and two at Ugu South Coast Tourism.We have employed these graduates to ensure we enrich them with know-ledge and experience in preparation for permanent employment. We placed great emphasis on the fact that these graduates should not be “gofers”, but should be taught work and ensure that by the end of their employment tenure, they have been well capacitated.As local government, we also encourage public and private partnerships in such programmes as this will ensure our community development goals are accomplished. We therefore appeal to the business community to partner with us in our quest to decrease the level of unemployment in our district by making real job opportunities available for the many young unemployed graduates.