31 August 2012

South Africa: Dignity of Unemployed Must Be Restored - Oliphant

Polokwane — Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant says much still needs to be done to restore the dignity of those that are unemployed.

"Too many people are still unemployed and to be in that state is not just about want of money," she said. Speaking at the Limpopo Job Summit and Job Fair in Polokwane on Friday, Oliphant said her department's focus is now on creating employment.

"We have set in motion various processes to achieve these goals including amending critical areas of legislation like the Labour Relations and Basic Conditions of Employment," she said.

Oliphant said government will leave no stone unturned in finding a solution to the problem of joblessness. She encouraged partnerships in creating jobs for the unemployed youth.

"For the sake of our children and their future, we need to open our hands and hold each other as we move with speed to restore hope to our people," she said.

Earlier this year, the Department launched Job Fairs aimed at assisting unemployed youth.

In that regard, the department has invested R4-billion with the Industrial Development Cooperation for job creation and of that amount, R2.9 billion has been approved for 168 business deals resulting in the creation of 16 255 new jobs and the retention of 18 463 jobs.

In addition, the Fairs are also used to empower the unemployed with soft skills, information and face-to-face search for placement opportunities be they further learning, self-employment, co-operatives, community works or public works programmes and formal employment.

Through the Job Fairs, the unemployed youth are also given an opportunity to interact with various government departments, prospective employers, enterprise development organizations and a host of others.

Oliphant said government's role is to create an enabling environment not only for business to thrive and make money, but for creation of employment opportunities through partnership.

According to the department, the Job Fair is among a range of initiatives being rolled out within the ambit of a branch called Public Employment Services (PES) as part of the DoL's contribution to Government service delivery outcomes.

PES plans to register at least 600 000 work-seekers on its electronic database called, the Employment System SA (Essa) by March 2013.

The goal is to ensure that at least 450 000 work-seekers are placed in opportunities or provided with other DoL services within 30 days of registration.

Deputy Director-General in the Office of the Premier Nepo Kekana also emphasised the importance of partnerships in job creation. "We need to join hands in addressing this problem we are faced with," he said.

To date, the department had conducted Job Fairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and in the Northern Cape.

The Job Fairs are targeted at the unemployed youth who dropped out of school, unemployed youth with school exit certificates, unemployed graduates, workers who are under employed and retrenched workers.

The Limpopo event like the previous ones seeks to give job seekers an opportunity to interact with employers and also to be registered on the Departmental Employment Services System (ESSA).

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