Nedbank says YES to job creation

Nokonwaba Dlamini is cleaning the Durban harbour in the YES programme.
Nokonwaba Dlamini is cleaning the Durban harbour in the YES programme.
Image: Penwell Dlamini

Over 1,000 young people are getting work experience in KwaZulu-Natal through a partnership between Nedbank and environmental organisation Wildtrust.

The partnership is a response by Nedbank to the Youth Employment Service (YES) introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March last year.

Nedbank has invested over R139m for the year to provide internships to 3,315 interns. Of this figure, 1,700 of these youth have been placed in Wildtrust initiatives.

On Friday, Nedbank CEO Mike Brown presented some of the work done through the partnership. Among these is the cleaning of the Durban harbour.

About 50 young people have been deployed to clean the harbour, which accumulates industrial waste, human waste and rubbish from rivers such as Umbilo, Umngeni and Umlazi.

Since March, the youth have collected 20,000kg of waste.

One of the beneficiaries, Nokonwaba Dlamini, 25, of Woodlands in Durban, said working had changed her life.

Dlamini finished her electrical engineering qualification in 2016 but could not get a job. She applied for the internship and the rest was history.

"At the beginning I did not like the job because a lot of people confuse what we do with municipal workers who clean the streets. But as I continued doing the job, I fell in love with it. Our job is important as we preserve the harbour from all the pollution. It is also refreshing to work next to the harbour and see the ocean every day," said Dlamini.

With all the experience Dlamini is getting, she now wants to pursue a qualification in maritime biology.

Siboniso Gumede poses with one of the bricks produced using recyclable material at the Midmar depot.
Siboniso Gumede poses with one of the bricks produced using recyclable material at the Midmar depot.
Image: Penwell Dlamini

The YES programme is aimed at providing 1-million youth with work experience over the next three year.

Companies involved in the initiative can be enhanced up to two levels on their B-BBEE scorecards and certificates.

Another initiative run by Wildtrust is the Midmar recycling depot, where 75 youth from surrounding areas have been placed.

Trucks leave the depot every morning to collect waste from schools, companies and residents. The waste which includes, glass, plastic and paper is then sorted on site. Glass is ground into powder form and sold to golf courses to be used for bunker sand. Glass is also mixed with other recyclable material to make bricks, which are then sold to locals at R10 each.

Another great innovation at the depot is the use of recyclable material to produce fuel. The fuel is produced by pouring crushed polyprop plastic which is mostly used in yoghurt containers into the pyrolisis machine. It is then heated up to 450ºC. It is then moves to a little refinery area in gas form, where it separates to 80% diesel and 20% petrol.

The diesel is used in the depot to fuel six trucks at the facility. Petrol, however, is yet to be tested if it can be used in vehicles. About 250kg of polyprop plastic produces 160l of diesel.

Sibongiseni Diedricks, 24, of Kwathandubisi, said working at the little plant had changed his life and those close to him.

"I have learnt so much about how we can use recyclable material to create new products. Working here has also changed my attitude towards the environment," he said.

Another 28 youth work at the Nelson Mandela Capture site in Howick as chefs, tour guides, administrators and maintenance staff.

Brown said more companies should respond to the president's call in order to address the country's high unemployment rate.

"The heartbeat of our organisation is to use our financial expertise to do good. What you have seen here is money being used to do good in peoples' lives. SA has an enormous youth unemployment problem, we need every corporate in SA to do their bit.

"My key message is to ask as many corporates as possible to sign-up for YES as soon as possible," he said.

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