DUSTY WORK: Unemployed female heads of households clean the streets. Picture: France Nyaka
In a bid to alleviate poverty and unemployment in households, especially those headed by unemployed women, the provincial department of public works roads and transport has created job opportunities through its project Siyatentela (doing it for ourselves).
The women have entered into a 12-month employment contract with the department and each earn an amount of R800 per month for working a period of 12 days in a month.
Their responsibilities include cutting grass and shrubs along the roads in their areas, revamping gravel roads, removing obstructions, backfilling gravel potholes and clearing water drains.
Speaking to The New Age, the workers’ site spokesperson in the Nkangala district, Sthembiso Makhoba, said they were very excited about the department’s project because it was helping them to put bread on the table.
She said that they initially served as volunteers before they could have employment contracts with the department.
“We could not simply ignore this opportunity since the majority of us were not working in this rural area. The majority of people are working in Pretoria because there are no job opportunities in this area,” said Makhoba. She urged other women not to undermine this opportunity to lessen poverty.
“We are proud to serve our communities who respect our job because the streets used to be filthy as people used to dump carcasses, broken beer bottles and disposable nappies because our local municipality does not collect rubbish in the villages,” said Makhoba.
Provincial spokesperson for public works, roads and transport, David Nkambule, said the women had been selected with the help of local councillors and traditional leaders by checking each family’s background.
“Each beneficiary is allocated a portion of 500m as a site to work on,” said Nkambule.
“The Siyatentela project is a poverty-alleviation initiative which aims to create job opportunities for unemployed women who are heads of households with dependants.”