​​​​Scaw Metals involved in addressing youth unemployment in the city of Ekurhuleni: Youth Economic Summit 2018, 25 June 2018

Scaw Metals was part of the Youth Economic Summit held recently in Boksburg. The City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) has partnered with the Gauteng provincial government to introduce the Tshepo 1 Million initiative in an attempt to deal with the lack of employment opportunities and poor economic participation of the youth in Ekurhuleni.

Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu and City of Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor Mzwandile Masina were among those addressing the issue of youth unemployment. The introduction of Tshepo 1 Million in Ekurhuleni is meant to address the lack of absorption for work placements and low levels of education and skills development in the area.The initiative was originally launched in 2014 under the name Tshepo 500 000 by Gauteng premier David Makhura, but has since been renamed Tshepo 1 Million after it created over 300 000 job opportunities in just two years.

Tshepo 1 Million provides young people in Gauteng with skills development, employment creation and entrepreneurship development to provide them with hope for the future.The youth summit brought together big business with the sole intention to showcase business opportunities in terms of set-asides, preferential procurement opportunities, off-take agreements and mentorships for youth-owned businesses.

Among those who attended the summit were management representatives from Denel, South African Airways, Airports Company South Africa, Scaw Metals, Bidvest Transnet, Telkom, Eskom and Sasol. Some of the keynote speakers included Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, businessman and radio personality Sbu Leope, MMC of finance and economic development Nkosindiphile Xhakaza and Ekurhuleni’s economic development head, Caiphus Chauke.

In his opening address at the youth summit, Masina said the city prides itself in developing partnerships that work: “The city of Ekurhuleni prides itself in the relations it has with all its stakeholders. We seek to continue to strengthen such relations, particularly with the private sector. One of the ways we aim to achieve these strengthened relations is by entering into various social compacts that deal with youth unemployment, inequality and poverty. We have tasked our Youth Directorate with developing a localised youth accord and entering into this social compact with all our private sector partners, placing focus on: education and training; work exposure; youth target set-asides; and youth entrepreneurship,” said Masina.

“The development of a social compact, in the form of a Youth Accord, will provide a platform for the private sector and the City to mainstream and co-ordinate youth development, and together address the socioeconomic ills that plague our region.”Masina said this youth economic summit was critical to youth development because it served as a platform on which to engage young people and expose them to captains of industry, the privatesector and government in an effort to realise the innovations of tomorrow, which depend on the opportunities made available and accessible for young people today.

Zulu launched the Rapid Youth Incubator in the local township of Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, during the summit. The Rapid Incubation Programme is part of the department of Small Business Development’s programme to address youth unemployment. “Through this centre, we seek to provide students and participants with the theoretical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills that will enable them to start and run successful enterprises. We are determined to  promote and inculcate an entrepreneurship culture among young people and to provide support to emerging entrepreneurs and start-ups in the City of Ekurhuleni,” said Zulu.

She told the summit that she was concerned about the high rate of collapse of small businesses in general in the townships. She said the Rapid Incubation programme provides student graduates with an entrepreneurial platform to commercialise their vocational skills and move them from “job seekers to job creators”. Zulu added that it also seeks to utilise the skills of TVET (technical and vocational education and training) graduates, to encourage and promote an entrepreneurship culture and provide the students with the necessary tools and techniques to establish their own businesses, and thus contribute to economic growth and job creation.

He told the youth summit that his department has introduced a comprehensive township strategy to deal with youth unemployment and lack of opportunities in the area, and said the economic viability of townships is high on the metro agenda. ​“Supplier SMMEs in townships are also given support through the Township Enterprise Development Programme. In addition, the CoE is adapting old council-owned structures into street trading facilities and is providing previously disadvantaged communities with access to state-of-the- art manufacturing facilities through fabrication laboratories,” said Chauke.