Steve Tshwete reserves 30% stake for local SMMEs
The rate of unemployment in Steve Tshwete is on the rise increasing from 16 to 17 percent during the previous financial year owing to amongst other factors a closure of some mines, industries and businesses in the Steve Tshwete area. In the wake of this now national scourge in Steve Tshwete it is the majority of young people who unfortunately have to bear the brunt.
The Steve Tshwete Municipality has not been quiet, and in what is a response to these challenges, the municipality announced it is looking to review its supply chain policy and work on implementing a framework that will allow 30 percent to be set aside on all capital projects for local contractors. This step is one way towards what looks to be a meaningfully manner to reduce the 17 percent unemployment rate of which is populated by a bulk of the youth.
The municipality also said it is taking measures to approve its youth development strategy in order to continue rendering a comprehensive youth advisory service and development of youth. During the 2018/2019 State of the Municipal Address (SoMA), The Steve Tshwete Executive Mayor, Cllr Bagudi Tolo reaffirmed the municipality’s commitment to young people in the form of assistance and favourable policies. “As a Municipality, we are committed in assisting our youth but they must use every spare moment they have and grab every available opportunity,” he said.
In addition, the Executive Mayor Bagudi Tolo stated that, “As the political head, I have instructed the accounting officer in the acting Municipal Manager to fill all the vacant budgeted posts. I would therefore encourage the unemployed youth structures to closely work with the municipality.” Monica Tolo an unemployed youth remarked indicating that “It is a good initiative by the municipality and this will benefit most young people amidst the high rate of unemployment.”
The business community also welcomed the address and the drive stating that “It is a good thing as it will assist local SMMEs but am actually concerned about the criteria that is going to be used to ensure that everyone benefits,” words uttered by Bongi Mahlangu a local entrepreneur. Muzi Kunene, a local businessman continued to state that although the 30% initiative and the rolling out of the youth development strategy is going to assist young people a great deal, it will only be effective when the municipality deals with issues with regard to the evaluation criteria adding that “the current criterion being used by the Steve Tshwete Municipality does not accommodate the upcoming businesses”.
This then brings us to the bridge between the political offices and the administration aspect in the operation of the municipality. Whilst the politicians might utter the rolling out of such policies there remains a bridge to be crossed in the rolling out of such. The situation regarding unemployment amongst the youth is dire in the Nkangala district and a collective is needed to forge out not just a regional but a provincial framework that will address these challenges facing the youth and the SMME’s.