Maimane launches 'Vukuzakhe' jobs initiative in Gauteng

2018-01-27 13:47
Mmusi Maimane (Picture: Liza van Deventer/Foto24)

Mmusi Maimane (Picture: Liza van Deventer/Foto24)

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Johannesburg - Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane launched the party’s "Total Change for Jobs" campaign in Emfuleni, Gauteng on Saturday.

Speaking at the Evaton Multipurpose Centre, Maimane said it was the burden he carried for young people that had led him into politics. 

"Everywhere I go, I hear the same story. It is just told in different ways. A story of despair, frustration, hopelessness," he said.

"Young people have told me that unless you have a family member connected to government or crooked business, you cannot get a job.

Young women have told me that too often, the only way to get hired is through a 'carpet interview' – when an employer demands sex from the applicant." 

"Young men have told me that unless you have money to pay your local councillor a bribe, you will never be considered for an EPWP job," he said.

Maimane said he did not want to point fingers or assign blame, as that did not help anyone.

Immediate solutions needed

"We often talk about big plans and big policies to beat unemployment, and this is good. We must have this vision. Attracting more investment and growing the economy is ultimately how we will create the jobs we need."

"But that’s a long-term solution that will take years to bear fruit. The five million unemployed young South Africans can’t wait that long. We also need immediate solutions," he said.

Maimane said the steps being taken to address access to higher education were important, but even with free education, space was limited. 

"We also need ideas that can work right now. We need to understand what it is that young people need to get a foot in the door, and then we have to get creative in making this happen," he said.

Vukuzakhe programme

Maimane said the Vukuzakhe programme would connect young job-seekers with opportunities, particularly internship opportunities.

"The aim of Vukuzakhe is to link job-seekers with opportunities – a single portal where people can access all the internships on offer," he said. 

He said this was not just for government jobs, saying the DA would challenge the private sector to list internship opportunities in big and small businesses as well. 

"I have already reached out to dozens of CEOs of companies across the country, asking them to come on board the Vukuzakhe project," he said. 

Maimane said a paid internship was one of the best ways to get onto the jobs ladder. 

He said DA led municipalities and the Western Cape government offer thousands of internships, but said the posts often went unfilled, not because of a lack of interest, but because people simply did not know about them. 

"In the Western Cape alone, government has provided these for 4 500 youth to the value of R27m since 2012. They plan to spend R65.6bn on youth development over the next 3 years," he said.

One year 'civilian service'

Speaking about what the DA could do, should they win the national government election in 2019, Maimane said he was excited about the concept of a one-year national civilian service.

He explained this would be where young people would volunteer to enter work-based training after matric in fields like healthcare, education, policing and other projects.

"In this programme you’ll get to choose the sector you’re interested in, and you’ll receive a monthly stipend while you build valuable skills," he said. 

"This is something we would implement in national government, equipping and upskilling young people."

Maimane said they would also significantly increase funding available for young people who were starting their own businesses through a specified national venture capital fund, and would also look at making business registration free. 

"We must also move to legalise the informal sector. Making illegal traders legal allows them to compete on an equal footing, and to grow their small business," he said.

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  johannesburg

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