Mitchells Plain to benefit from new jobs and skills programme
18 September 2008
MITCHELLS Plain is set to become one of the chief beneficiaries of a bold new, R1.6-billion job opportunities and skills development programme initiated by the Western Cape Government.
Provincial Premier Lynne Brown announced the programme after a two-day provincial Cabinet lekgotla in Saldanha Bay last week.
She said 100,000 of the Western Cape’s poorest citizens would benefit from the initiative over the next three years.
Mitchells Plain has been identified as one of the beneficiaries of the Provincial Government’s Social Transformation Programme.
The 2001 national census put Mitchells Plain’s population at 283,196. But the worrying statistics relating to these figures were the unemployment rate for the area, which stood at 29.7 percent, and the number of households (35.3 percent) with a monthly income of less than R1,600 (below the officially determined subsistence level).
The feeling is that these statistics are unlikely to have improved since the 2001 census.
Brown said: “At the moment ALL three spheres of government do a great deal to help the most vulnerable members of our society – but, clearly, even our combined efforts have not been enough.
“We cannot just stand by and accept this. So, we are going to re-prioritize our spending over the next three years to put bread on the tables in 100,000 households … to prepare people to enter the job market … and to help those who want to, establish their own businesses.
Brown said details of the rollout and the financing of the plan would be announced by the end of October.
Prime beneficiaries would be no-income and low-income households. There would also be a strong (but not exclusive) focus on youth and women, the Premier said.
And she promised: “We will deepen the quality of the skills development component of Government’s Extended Public Works Programme.
“We firmly believe that citizens in every municipality, in every township, and in every informal settlement must be given the chance to benefit from this intervention.
“The programme will be paid for out of available funding drawn from national programmes. “We will also ask the private sector to partner us to co-fund internships to make these real opportunities to prepare participants for the job market.”
Brown said the Cabinet had adopted a five-point plan to ensure that Government delivers on its commitments.
The five focus areas of the plan (which some MECs have dubbed “Brown’s Big Five”) are:
- The war on poverty
- The war on crime
- Bringing the people of the Western Cape together through social dialogue
- Creating work opportunities and
- Black economic empowerment
“We already have a number of well established programmes in place to address all these issues. What the Five-point Plan is doing is, first, coordinating and focusing what we have and, second, adding new programmes to broaden the reach and deepen the impact”, Brown said.
And she added: “Within the next two weeks, I intend providing detailed delivery plans for each of the five points.”
“With one mega-project, Government will deepen service delivery in almost all our focus areas.”
Brown said she had invited the City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Helen Zille, and her mayoral committee, to meet the Provincial Cabinet – “to talk through issues that are inhibiting cooperation in delivering to the most vulnerable citizens of the City”.
“Members of my Cabinet unanimously agree that everything possible must be done to intensify dialogue with all of local government – but particularly the City.
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