140 youth in protest over jobs

ABOUT 140 young people protested outside a new shopping mall, complaining that the Khayelitsha Development Forum denied them jobs in the new centre.

The R250million Nonqubeka Link shopping mall was opened by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in Site B, Khayelitsha, this week.

But angry young people protested outside, saying mall owner and real estate mogul Jali Bakoro and the KDF had sidelined them from getting jobs.

The Khayelitsha Youth Development Council secretary, Mzwandile Manzini, said though they were happy with any development in the township, the youth had not seen the benefit of the mall.

"The KDF is supposed to consult the community at large but that has not been done," Manzini said.

"The youth are afraid that the mall is going to open and operate without their gaining employment."

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Zamayedwa Sogayise denied that he had sparked the protest by refusing to recognise the youth structures in Khayelitsha.

"We do not recognise the youth council. We will only recognise a structure that is elected by the KDF," he said.

Bakoro dismissed the protesters, telling Sowetan they were "a small group of youths".

"KDF is committed to help them make sure that their grievances are addressed. In some things you will help five and the other 95 must understand you couldn't help everybody," he said.

"The problem is that there is a high level of unemployment in Khayelitsha, so with every investment everyone wants to make sure they get a job."

The Nonqubeka mall is built on the site of the old Khayelitsha Sanlam Centre.

Bakoro came under fire last year when tenants of the Sanlam Centre accused him of kicking them out on short notice.

Mall consultant Vivi Gusha said some of the businesses that were set to take up space in the mall had pulled out, so there fewer jobs were available.

"We have spaces without leases. We will cut the cord with those who are hesitant and only then will we be able to find out how many people they can employ," Gusha said.

The youth are set to meet the mall's management again today.