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We feel betrayed, say Jozi@Work workers

Johannesburg – The cancellation of the City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) flagship programme Jozi@Work will have a dire impact on those employed under it.

A Joburg resident who found employment through the programme said cancelling it would lead to an increase in the number of unemployed.

This comes after CoJ executive mayor Herman Mashaba announced last week that his administration would be cancelling the R1 billion co-production programme.

Jozi@Work was conceived by the previous ANC administration and claims to have created more than 8 000 jobs.

Mashaba is seeking to bring an end to the initiative after claiming it was littered with patronage.

But one of those who benefited from the programme, Mzwandile Ngema, spoke of the consequences of this move. The Hillbrow resident said Mashaba’s announcement had left him with a sense of betrayal and caused a lack of trust in the new administration.

“I honestly don’t know what the municipality is thinking. We feel betrayed because this (Jozi@Work) was something that at least allowed us to put food on the table and clothes on the backs of our children.”

Ngema said he works under the programme as a waste collector and currently earns R2 200 a month.

“It’s not a lot of money but it made a difference in the lives of those who depend on me. I have three children to look after, and an additional five family members who rely on me. With the programme being closed down it’s going to be difficult to look after them,” he said.

ANC Greater Johannesburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo echoed the sentiments expressed by Ngema, saying the cancellation of the programme was a direct attack on the thousands of city residents who were unemployed.

“How do we talk about eradicating high levels of unemployment when we see a programme that was designed to meet that objective being cancelled?” said Matongo.

“This is not acceptable because over 8 000 workers will be without jobs, while a further 112 co-operatives in Joburg will be affected as well.”

However, Mashaba said the cancellation of the programme was a result of the unfair practices as the work opportunities were handed out on the basis of membership of the ANC.

He said his administration would be creating a new programme which would be aimed at creating fair and equal opportunities.

The new programme was expected to be implemented within six months, pending the establishment of a credible indigents list.

The Star


By Tankiso Makhetha

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