Jozi@Work: empowering community enterprises

Jozi@Work: empowering community enterprises

The City of Johannesburg's Jozi@Work programme will contract around 1 750 community enterprises to provide services ranging from waste sorting to infrastructure maintenance. The programme is expected to create 40 000 new jobs by 2016.

Jozi@Work: empowering community enterprisesThe City of Joburg's Jozi@Work programme aims to empower community cooperatives and enterprises to tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment in the City.

Launched by Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau in August 2014, Jozi@Work will spend more than R1-billion on contracting an estimated 1 750 new and existing community-level cooperatives and enterprises in the first year of the programme. A total of 40 000 new jobs are expected to be generated by the City's spend across nine sectors by 2016.

Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau speaks at the launch of the Jozi@Work programmeThe programme is set to change the way the City does business, creating thousands of new neighbourhood cooperatives and micro-enterprises.

"Jozi@Work will enable and empower both existing entrepreneurs and thousands of new market entrants, who in turn will draw on the hundreds of thousands of unemployed and underemployed people available as part of the City's labour pool," said Tau.

Johannesburg is one of Africa's fastest-growing municipalities, and according to Statistics South Africa's 2011 Census, is home to over 800 000 work-seeking adults.

"The City's poverty mapping, based on the broader census data, shows that there remains an enduring and strong correlation between lack of access to employment and the wider range of poverty indicators: below average income, poor health outcomes, lack of access to education, and poor living environment standards," Tau said.

Jozi@Work regional forums

Using a new supply chain process developed in consultation with the National Treasury, the City will source community-based enterprises and cooperatives through a new network of regional bidders' briefings, to be known as regional Jozi@Work forums.

Eldorado Park residents gathered for a Jozi@Work regional forumAppointed bidders will provide services as diverse as de-sludging chemical toilets; separating and recycling waste as it arrives at municipal dumps; providing food to City nutrition programmes; resurfacing and maintaining roads; and providing frontline support to water and power infrastructure.

"Our residents will be our suppliers as well as our customers - and transacting locally will make them better at being both," Tau said. "It will mean better value for money paid to the City and faster, more attentive service in return for money paid into the City through rates and service charges."

Capability Support Agents

Capability Support Agents will oversee work done by successful bidders. These agents will provide professional oversight, mentoring and quality assurance, as well as enable the enterprises to purchase raw materials and rent equipment, recovering costs from monthly contract payments as milestones are met.

The new system will ensure that "a much wider range of poorer and middle-class residents alike will find barriers to entry for those seeking to participate in the economy lowered", Tau said.

Once the programme is up and running, it will expand to include back-office support to improve the functioning of City services, as well as a 10% slice of the City's maintenance work and 5% of its capital construction.

Workers gaining on-the-job experience through Jozi@Work packages will also be able to build up their skills through an apprenticeship programme, which will include digital learning at recreation centres and libraries after hours and on days off. This will enable workers to get trade certification, and give them the chance to take their expertise further.

A new Community Innovation Fund linked to the Jozi@Work programme will also be introduced, through which the new regional forums will get the opportunity to propose locally led projects that fit Jozi@Work objectives, but which are not funded under City departments' and municipal agencies' budgets.