SPEECH BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

 

Thank you all for being here today. It’s always lovely to be in Mitchells Plain and to interact with the residents of this historical part of Cape Town.

 

Of course, we are here to witness another of the initiatives aimed at providing opportunities to our residents most in need.

 

Unemployment in South Africa is a huge challenge and Cape Town is not immune to this problem. We may have the lowest unemployment rate in the country – at 19% – but that is still too high.

 

We have been working hard from our side to attract more local and international investment into our city, which in turn creates job opportunities for our people.

 

That is the promise we made in our manifesto during the election campaign: to work to create an environment for investment and job creation. Today we are delivering on that promise.  

 

We understand that many people are giving up looking for work because travel costs are a barrier to finding employment.

 

So that is why today we are launching the initiative to offer free MyCiTi bus rides to job seekers to support them in their efforts to find employment. 

 

As a proactive administration, we have set aside R6,6 million to pay for and subsidise bus rides on the MyCiTi service for unemployed people in Cape Town.

 

This will pay for 100 000 myconnect cards that will be handed out to registered job seekers between today and next month.

 

As a caring city, we recognise our role in ensuring that disadvantaged residents have opportunities and are not pushed further into poverty.

 

In this regard, with this programme we will provide you with a free myconnect card with two free journeys on the MyCiTi bus every week.

 

I want to use this opportunity to urge businesses and potential employers to please try to accommodate these job seekers as the buses they will travel on will be off peak.

 

This could mean perhaps scheduling interviews for late morning, midday or early afternoon to allow job seekers using MyCiTi to benefit from this programme of free rides.

 

The City of Cape Town is committed to supporting inclusive economic growth. This initiative is a pilot project that targets job seekers in vulnerable sections of the community in an effort to combat poverty and unemployment. 

 

The initiative we are launching today is not in isolation and forms part of the City’s broader strategy of addressing unemployment.

 

For example, last week Council approved funding of R7 million for two skills development programmes where together with our partners we will provide training to more than 350 young people.

 

For one of the projects we are working with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism to fund the Cape Innovation Technology Initiative’s programme to train and provide work experience to unemployed youth from Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and surrounding areas.

 

For the other initiative, we are partnering with the Western Cape Government and Business Processing Enabling South Africa on a skills development and job creation project in the business process and out-sourcing industry in Cape Town. In this programme, we will expose young people to the realities of the work life, build their self-confidence, and train them to be call centre operators. 

 

All of you can have access to these opportunities because you are registered on the city’s database. What you must do now is visit your nearest municipal office or contact your ward councillor.

 

In the last financial year, the City of Cape Town facilitated investment worth more than R2,6 billion and this helped towards creating more than 6 000 direct jobs. 

 

As the City of Cape Town, we will continue building an opportunity city and creating an enabling environment for economic growth because there’s still a lot that needs to be done.

 

But we are committed to ensuring that we provide opportunities and ensuring that we reduce unemployment. 

 

All those interested in more details about these and more opportunities can get on the next bus with me to the Civic Centre. 

 

Thank you, baie dankie, enkosi, shukran.

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