Kasi economies creating jobs
It is often said that "a leopard never changes its spots" - a phrase known to mean that changing one's character is almost always impossible to do.
However, as far as township economies go, the opposite is true - for this idiom is being turned on its head.
Through the department of trade and industry's (dti) Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme, many townships around the country are shedding their coat of disadvantage in exchange for a brand-new one.
Aspects of the programme include the attraction of investment, addressing inequality and supporting job-creation in the manufacturing sector.
Recently, the GaRankuwa Industrial Park shed off its old skin, becoming the eighth park to have benefitted from the programme's first phase.
Located in the country's capital, the first phase of the programme saw the erection of 8.5km of fencing as well as the installation of guard houses and closed-circuit televisions, among others.
These changes in the park's "coat" are an essential detail in helping it not only to attract tenants that will bring much-needed investment, but will also assist the park which is currently sitting at 210 tenants to reach full tenant capacity of 283 units. The changes are not only of a cosmetic nature, but aid in South Africa's efforts to quench high levels of unemployment.
Thabang Nonyane is among those who have since gotten a taste of the working world at one of the plants located in the park. Hailing from the nearby Klipgat, Nonyane is a trainee dispatcher under the employ of GRE Industries.
Nonyane comes from a family of four whereby up until now, his father has been the breadwinner.
"My mom has been looking for work for a long time, so only my father has a job," said Nonyane, who completed matric last year. Not one to sit idle and the elder of two siblings, Nonyane could not get placement at a tertiary institution this year and decided to look for work in the meantime.
"Unemployment is making life for South African youth to be very difficult. Most of the time people turn to a life of crime in order to make ends meet," said the 19-year-old who aspires to become a mechanical engineer one day.
He sought work to stay out of trouble and to help his family.
The young Nonyane has been undergoing training at the company which manufactures metal pressings for the automotive industry.
GRE Industries has heeded government's call for companies to employ young people as a way of growing the economy.
In his Youth Day message last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on companies, both in the public and private sector, to make an effort to employ graduates.
GRE chief executive officer Elton Marshall said while the industry in which the company operates requires expertise, his company was doing what it could to help fight unemployment, which lessened to 27.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
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