Joburg mayor launches initiative to help unemployed youth

2015-05-06 15:54
Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau says. (File, City Press)

Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau says. (File, City Press)

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Johannesburg - A total of 200 000 Johannesburg youths will be given opportunities to either further their education or get job opportunities by 2016, the city's Mayor Mpho Parks Tau said on Wednesday.

"The Vulindlel' eJozi programme will enable them to enter work, education and training, as well as improve their economic participation potential step-by-step."

Tau was speaking at the State of the City address in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

The programme, which would register its first group of youths on June 1, would include a screening process and assessments which would identify opportunities available for the youngsters based on their aptitude.

They would be taught foundation literacy, numeracy and digital literacy to raise their earning potential, Tau said.

Through a partnership with the University of Johannesburg, 3 000 youths would be appointed Digital Ambassadors, responsible for promoting digital literacy training as the city rolls out its free public Wi-Fi hotspots over the coming months, he said.

"We have the privilege of leading a city of 4.8 million people, but we carry a burden of knowing that over 50% of those people have no regular access to the internet.

"Digital access is becoming as m an equity issue in our society as access to water and electricity."

Tau said Braamfontein was in the process of being blanketed with Wi-Fi with high-speed broadband access. Parts of it were already live.

Johannesburg was a smart city which used technology and innovation to solve complex problems.

On food security, he said they were looking at introducing fruit trimmings as a flour replacement in the bread-making process, due to the large consumption of bread by communities.

"Research conducted by the city has clearly shown that food insecurity in Jozi isn't about whether food is available - it's a matter of how expensive food is, and how much you have to pay in transport to get to it."

Families usually resorted to eating more starch and sugar when budgets were tight, to make up for the protein and vegetables they could not afford, he said.

"There simply aren't enough local stores selling healthy food, and not enough healthy choices on fast food menus."

Residents of the city also had to change their attitude when it came to water usage. 

"Unless we change our behaviour, demand will outstrip supply.

"To confront this, the city will incentivise and regulate the installation of low-flush toilets and water-saving urinals as a standard feature in Joburg homes, offices and commercial sites."

The city would also use innovative ways to harvest gas for fuel and energy, from the sewerage system.

"We will be converting most of the 250 000 tons of rubble we collect from illegal dumpsites into a new form of stone paper. Using this approach we will unlock value in such rubble and subsidise the cost of removing it," Tau said.

Read more on:    parks tau  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  labour

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