SELEBI-PHIKWE: Recent statistics presented to council from the Labour Department show that only one placement for permanent and pensionable employment was secured from January to May this year against 835 job seekers registered with the office.
During the same period 352 registered under cleaners, 49 under mechanics, 204 under labourers, 180 under administration, 51 under operators and 49 under construction. In January the office managed to place 147 job seekers as casuals, 44 as temporary and only one as permanent and pensionable. There were no permanent and pensionable placements from February to May.
This, according to the department, could be attributed to the economic situation where even local companies are struggling to sustain themselves hence not able to offer employment. The closure of BCL mine has led to an increase of job seekers thronging labour offices everyday to look for jobs with little luck.
At some point job seekers spent over a month without even a single one of them getting hired for a casual job. Some of them are pinning their hopes on the new government hospital project that would soon start for some work.
The pace at which projects that are expected to start up in the town is also slower than anticipated and this has made the community and job seekers lose hope in such interventions.
Just a few that are operating have created a few jobs that cannot match the job losses that resulted from the mine’s closure.
Council also recently heard that no jobs have been created from the 15 industrial plots that have been allocated to investors by SPEDU in April last year except for those who were engaged only for debushing and fencing.
Council has handed 74 plots to SPEDU for allocation to investors and the allocation of 15 plots was done through a tender process. An additional 20 plots are under review to be recommended for direct allocation by end of this month. SPEDU has explained to council in its response last week that the allocated plots are not fully developed hence there is no industrial
“However, the developments of the allocated plots are at different stages of development, which are debushing, fencing and design. Construction of at least 50 percent is expected to start by June next year. There are no jobs created except for those who were engaged during preparation of the plots,” Jazenga Uezesa responded.
Councilor Evelyn Kgodungwe had requested for the total number of people employed by the companies allocated the industrial plots.
SPEDU then explained that it continues to engage the developers to assist where possible and encourage them to develop the plots according to their development covenants. A lot of jobs are anticipated once the companies are up and running and all the 74 plots are to be developed.
SPEDU is currently involved with 41 companies that have expressed interest in establishing in the SPEDU region. Fifteen of them are at expression of interest stage while six are at assessment and due diligence stage. Two of the companies are at request of land allocation stage, two at environmental assessment stage and five at renovation of factory shells stage. Four of the companies are at the stage of installation of equipment while seven are already at operational stage.
Uezesa explained that the challenges hindering envisaged developments is insufficient strategic infrastructure such as the inadequate number of factory shells and serviced land. Despite this, he said, government continues to be supportive in facilitating the SPEDU companies as evidenced by the development, approval and implementation of the SPEDU incentives.
Meanwhile, Selebi Phikwe mayor Molosiwa Molosiwa said the Ipelegeng programme continues to offer alternative employment to the local community and added that 58 projects have been approved for implementation in the current financial year including maintenance of public facilities, minor construction, grass cutting, litter picking and sweeping of roads. He said the project employs 1,466 beneficiaries per month.