ON THE JOB: Families clearing the Hakskeenpan after the government started a public works programme of intensive job creation. Picture: Zandisile Luphahla
A job that could have been done by one bulldozer – to clear more than 20km of obstacles on the Hakskeenpan pan and create a completely level surface – was instead given to about 300 families from five towns in the Mier municipality in the Kalahari area as part of a massive job creation drive by the government.
Since 2010 the families have been given the task of clearing obstacles such as stones, dips or bumps on the pan, which will give a surface quality that will enable the Bloodhound SSC, (Supersonic Car) to travel safely at high speed.
The world-renowned Andy Green, driver of the Bloodhound SSC, intends to improve the land speed record during June 2013.
According to the MEC for roads and public works, Dawid Rooi, the provincial government will spend close to R7.5m on creating the world’s best land speed track. “In the process we have created jobs, and most of the 300 families who are in the project got a chance to earn an income after a very long time,” said Rooi.
It has been determined that each worker has cleared 680.19m² per day based on the 71-day track record thus far.
Rooi said his department had decided on the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) project to create jobs for the unemployed people of Loubos, Rietfontein, Klein Mier, Groot Mier and Philandersbron.
“We deliberately chose to make it an EPWP project so that we could create job opportunities for the local communities.”
Rooi said his department stands behind the EPWP and the monthly salary of R1700 gives hope to previously jobless and marginalised individuals.
“Families no longer have to struggle to make a day-to-day living.”
He said the workers were engaged in back-breaking work on a daily basis – such as the removal of tons of stones embedded in clay.
Since the work began in 2010, the project has had to overcome challenges such as a heavy rainfall and the extreme temperatures of the Kalahari Desert.