New unemployment database launches in South Africa – how it works

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has launched a ‘district-model’ unemployment database aimed at youth, professionals and artisans throughout the country.

The database will be used to capture and store information on these unemployed groups to find out the country’s available capacity to deliver on infrastructure projects in the specific areas, the department said.

“The district model was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019 aimed to accelerate, align and integrate service delivery under a single development plan.

“This will be per district or metro that is developed jointly by national, provincial and local government as well as business, labour and community in each district.”

The DPWI said that its unemployed database is aimed at supporting the government’s infrastructures priorities for economic growth beyond Covid-19.

The database will be used in different projects by prioritising available registered people in that district where the project is being implemented.  Preference will be given to females of all races, it said.

During the active stages of the infrastructure strategic projects, those recruited from the database will also get on the job training opportunities the DPWI said. These include:

  • Work-integrated learning programme for TVET college students and University of Technology students who require experiential training to obtain their qualification;
  • Graduate internships to expose graduates to work experience to strengthen employment opportunities;
  • Trade certificate for construction trades and candidacy programmes aimed towards built environment professional registration;
  • Water-related, environmental science and planners with the relevant statutory councils.

Registration on the database is online on the DPWI website and will be continuous without a closing date. The new portal was not live at the time of writing.

Infrastructure drive

In July the presidency designated the country’s priority infrastructure projects, paving the way for the beginning of private investment in a R2.3 trillion program over the next decade.

The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission Council issued a list of projects ranging from key water supply and irrigation developments to energy, roads, housing and fish-farming plans.

While to date most infrastructure has been funded by the state, the country is now saddled with debt and the coronavirus outbreak has limited the amount of money available for investment.

The government is now seeking funds from development finance institutions, mulitilateral institutions and private pension funds.

The announcement is a first step in getting the drive, announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month, going. In total 276 projects have been earmarked for potential investment.

Presenting on the plans, Public Works minister Patrica De Lille said that infrastructure-led economic growth is the most effective and significant parts of government’s economic growth strategy to grow our economy while at the same time respond to the Socio-Economic needs of our people.

“The severe economic recession, together with the Covid-19 pandemic, has now placed an added urgency on us to navigate a new normal,” De Lille said

“In this new normal, there is an even greater need to partner in the investment and implementation of infrastructure that will facilitate social and economic growth in a workable and purposeful way.

“In South Africa, infrastructure investment, together with the use of public land and public buildings, is a critical lever to achieve spatial and economic justice by connecting our people, integrating our communities and bringing people closer to work opportunities.”

Read: 50 major projects planned for South Africa – including a new mega city and space hub

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New unemployment database launches in South Africa – how it works