Jozi@Work programme was 'wolf in sheep’s clothing' - Mashaba

2017-05-04 07:52
Demonstrators at the Johannesburg City Council, demanding that Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba steps down over the remodelling of projects.(File, Sisa Canca, News24)

Demonstrators at the Johannesburg City Council, demanding that Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba steps down over the remodelling of projects.(File, Sisa Canca, News24)

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Johannesburg - Despite resistance to the decision to cancel the Jozi@Work youth employment programme, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba maintains the project only served a select few.

In principle, programmes which married service delivery objectives with work opportunities were good, he said during his first ever State of the City address at the Johannesburg City Council on Wednesday.

“But like so many good principles, the Jozi@Work programme had a dark underworld, because when middlemen get awarded multi-million rand contracts to run these projects, they become indebted through their newly achieved wealth.”

These “overnight millionaires” then selected people who would benefit from the work opportunities.

Ward councillors contributed to the “mess” by helping to choose who benefited from the programme.

“They had no official indigent list to work off. So I ask you, on what basis do you think people get chosen?”

“I stand here today, unperturbed. You see, this programme was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Socio-economic criteria

His administration would revamp the programme to cut the middlemen out of the equation. Work opportunities would be fairly allocated on a rotational basis, using a legitimate indigent register.

The only criterion for placement on the list would be socio-economic.

“Despite what critics say, this move will not kill work opportunities. Instead it will increase the amount of people who can fairly benefit from these temporary work opportunities,” Mashaba said.

After Mashaba took office following the local government elections in 2016, he announced his intention to scrap the Jozi@Work, Jozi Bread, Jozi Mushroom Farmers and Jozi Mini Cities projects. His predecessor Parks Tau started them in 2014 to create jobs.

In February, police fired rubber bullets when anti-Mashaba marchers stormed the City Council building. The Johannesburg Social Movement, which led the march, called on Mashaba to resign.

The protesters claimed that up to 8 000 jobs would be lost from the scrapping of the Jozi@Work initiative alone.

On Wednesday, the ANC’s Johannesburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said Mashaba’s decision to scrap the programme was “anti-poor”.

“The cancellation of Jozi@Work programme practically condemns 8 000 people to unemployment and prevents a further 50 000 Joburgers from benefiting from the programme over the next four years,” Matongo said.

Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  service delivery

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