Some recently employed Free State graduates express relief

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Some of the unemployed graduates, who have recently been recruited by the Mangaung Metro Municipality in the Free State, to assist in ensuring that the city is clean, say they are relieved to be employed, even though they will not be doing something that they studied for.
The Mangaung Metro Municipality recently recruited about 800 unemployed residents to revitalise various parks, city entrances, heritage sites and open spaces across the region. The group is part of the Presidential Stimulus Employment and Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Mangaung Metro Mayor, Gregory Nthatisi, explained that their dealing with issues of cleanliness, to restore Mangaung to its former glory.
Neo Titisi is a Public Relations Assistant graduate, who will now be doing manual work of cleaning parks. The aspiring actor, who has been featured on some of the country’s leading TV series, is grateful that he will finally have a stable income, after surviving on piece jobs.
“I don’t feel very happy about it but then it’s something.  I’ve been productive rather than just sitting at home watching TV all day, eating and doing nothing. It kinda like makes me feel better that I’m doing something productive and I’ll be working at the parks, I’ll be making sure that the park is clean. As much as the money isn’t that much, it’s something. I mean nobody would have given me that amount, if I was just sitting at home and hoping for money from heaven, so it kinda like makes me feel good.”
Ensuring that the city is clean, additional general workers have now been recruited. Nthatisi further elaborates:
“Most of the programmes vary from six to 12 months but most of them lately, we’ve actually weighed them to hit 12 months to make sure that our people do not only come and they actually turn to benefit and have substances of what they do and with what they’re working for. This programme in itself, becomes a leverage of the shortage of manpower that the city has in making sure that it closes the gap to make sure that we attend to all the needs of our people on the ground in terms of cleanliness.”
Lehlohonolo Ntulini and Thapelo July are both blind. They are part of the new recruits. Irrespective of their visual impairment, they’re confident that they’ll also be able to execute their work.
“I’m very happy that I’m now employed and now I’ll be able to showcase that I also have the ability to do this job.”
“As blind as I am, there’s nothing that can defeat me. Before I got this job, I wasn’t doing anything and that didn’t sit well with me.”
Alleviate poverty
The municipality is trying to alleviate poverty, by focusing on the impoverished and vulnerable, to ensure that they are able to support their families. The city’s mayor believes the EPWP programme is still relevant.
“They serve to alleviate poverty, whilst the city is trying to find investment that can consume a number of workforce into permanent employment. But at the same time, they need to be the base even to ground our people to also have the discipline of working and that relies mainly on the management of the programme itself. It’s something that we’ve sat and done and we’re going to be attending to it.”
Although the city has provided temporary employment to the beneficiaries, it’s hopeful that in a long run there will be more opportunities to alleviate the current high unemployment rate.