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Soweto co-ops scoop Jozi@Work packages


At least 10 cooperatives and micro businesses were given a major leg-up on 10 June when they were awarded Jozi@Work packages totalling R1,5 million in value to undertake planned remedial work at the Kliptown Golf Course in Pimville, Soweto.

The work includes the painting of boundary walls and fences around the golf course development.

Speaking at the launch of the project yesterday, Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Housing Councillor Dan Bovu said the time for theorising about Jozi@Work had passed, adding that it was now time for implementation.

“We are talking practical things. Every department in the City is doing its bit to ensure Jozi@Work becomes a reality to ensure that tomorrow will indeed be better than today for our communities.”

Jozi@Work, an unprecedented mass empowerment and job creation programme, was launched last year by Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau with an initial budget of about R1 billion to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality in the city by giving work packages such as street cleaning and sweeping, rubbish collection and removal, grass-cutting and landscaping, infrastructure repairs and maintenance, to name a few, to community businesses.

Thousands of small businesses have since been registered under the programme and many have already started working on projects. To demonstrate the City’s commitment to the success of the programme, MMC for Finance Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo announced in his Budget speech recently that Jozi@Work’s allocation in the 2015-2016 financial year would increase three-fold – to R3 billion.

MMC Bovu said yesterday that for many years the City had appointed established contractors to do maintenance work.

“We are now using co-ops and micro businesses to do the job. This will give co-ops and micro businesses a great start and they can only grow from here,” he said.

He begged small businesses to ensure the programme became a success by putting their shoulders to the wheel.

“Do not be in a hurry to employ workers when you can do the job yourselves. The real sense of a cooperative is to start by taking part yourself,” he said.

Ward councillor Elizabeth Mabaso urged the cooperatives and micro businesses given the work packages not to disappoint the community. She said it was imperative for the leaders of the businesses to ensure that their workers were paid on time and cautioned against self-enrichment at the expense of employees.

“Let’s not see leaders of co-ops driving around in Mercs when the workers are not paid.”

Cheryl Homes, Executive Manager at Joshco, the City’s social housing company, called on the cooperatives and micro businesses to rise to the occasion and emphasised that Joshco would always be there to offer advice when needed.

Speaking on behalf of the cooperatives and micro businesses, Levi Meko said all the beneficiaries were excited to be afforded this opportunity.

“We will do our best to assist our city and the government to deliver to the people,” he said.

Work at the golf course will begin later this month. The project is expected to create at least 50 jobs.