City council seeks to create jobs
THE LETTER “Proper jobs need to be created” by Thomas Johnson on January 15 refers. The writer is correct in saying that I am proud of the city council’s implementation and success with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
EPWP is a national programme through which temporary jobs are created while various opportunities and extensive training empower the workers by increasing their employability through skills training.
It is a model of employment that leads to poverty alleviation and which stems from an agreement between the government, business and unions.
Since 2011, the council has created almost 160 000 EPWP work opportunities, with R555 million being paid in wages to EPWP workers. These wages have granted immediate poverty relief for poor and unemployed residents.
Our own research has indicated that these wages are ploughed directly into local businesses, creating local economic development within communities.
These jobs not only provide some financial relief but we have seen that street people and other vulnerable groups find a sense of hope and motivation to change their circumstances once they have completed their EPWP work period.
I am proud of these men and women who value the opportunity given to them.
Jobseekers who access these opportunities are the kind of people for whom I have the utmost respect as they are willing to do something to change their circumstances.
Our efforts have also been recognised by the National Department of Public Works, who awarded us three Kamoso awards for the pioneering EPWP projects we have implemented.
For the current financial year, we will spend an additional R138.6m on EPWP work opportunities.
At the same time, I am acutely aware of the state of unemployment in the country.
The city council recognises the need for creating employment, and one of our key strategic objectives in this regard is to create the enabling conditions to stimulate economic growth and job creation.
In terms of broader interventions to create an enabling economic environment, I have opened a trade and investment desk in my office to serve as a one-stop shop for all investors and companies looking to invest in Cape Town.
We will help them with all the information and assistance they need to open a business in Cape Town.
We constantly receive feedback and we are seeing the proof that there is more interest and more companies are establishing themselves in Cape Town.
Last year, I opened a number of factories and offices where foreign companies are investing in Cape Town and employing local labour.
One of the many success stories was the GC Rieber Compact factory which manufactures ready-to-use-therapeutic and supplementary foods now being produced in Muizenberg and exported into Africa.
This company already has plans in place to expand its factory floor space and employ more people.
We understand what business needs and we are working on many fronts to make it as easy as possible for companies to do business in Cape Town.
Those factors which we can control and influence – those are the things we have taken action on.
We live in a beautiful city with a great balance between business and leisure offerings.
We have four excellent universities, so our skill base is diverse and extensive.
Our job as the council is to ensure we keep the lights on, the water running and that we invest in our roads and public transport to ensure the efficient movement of goods and people.
The city council and Western Cape provincial government are making a concerted effort to create the enabling environment for businesses.
We are working to drive higher growth in the agri-processing, manufacturing, tourism and oil and gas sectors to create thousands of jobs.
There is a part for all sectors to play in creating jobs, and for the council’s part we are committed to this cause.
We will consistently strengthen our efforts and do what we can within our competencies to stimulate economic activity and job creation.