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Minister Thulas Nxesi: District Development Model Visit to Amajuba/Newcastle

24 Nov 2022

Programme Director
Thank you for coming and welcome all. It gives me great pleasure to be part of this gathering and to share some thoughts with you.

First, let me thank the Amajuba TVET college in Madadeni section for allowing us to use this sportsfield. Let me also say that procurement of the items that are required to make the event to be a success has been done following the Supply Chain Management procedures of the Department of Employment and Labour. The main service provider appointed is Uzwano Investments 25, owned by an African woman from Madadeni. The understanding is that the main service provider will source out services from the local service providers.

Services procured include Marquees, Chairs, Food, Toilets, Taxis, Emergency Rescue Services, Security Officers; etc.

Amajuba District was selected as part of the District Development Model. This is a programme be government to bring together resources and services from all levels of government – national, provincial and local – and concentrate these in a particular district. The aim is that we take the resources and services to where the people are.

Entities who are our partners in championing the District Development Model include the Amajuba District Council, Newcastle Local Municipality, national Departments of Social Development, Health, Economic Development, Home Affairs, SAPS and COGTA.

Invitations were sent out to a total of 21 SETA’s (training authorities) and 12 State Departments, Parastatals and Higher Education institutions to join this event to exhibit their services. Organizations that have confirmed their attendance include: Cedara Agricultural College, KZN Coastal College, ETDP SETA, CETA, CATH SETA, MICT, HWSETA, CHIETA, EDTEA, ESKOM, Coastlands Hotel group, KZN Liquor Authority, and the Department of Small Business Development.

In organizing this event we have had direct engagements with Community Leaders, Traditional Leaders and Municipal Structures e.g. Amajuba District Municipal Council, Emadlangeni and Dannhauser Municipalities, GCIS, Umngwcabo Uhlehlile Workers Union, Operation Sukuma Sakhe Local Task Team/ War Room in Dannhauser, and Inkosi Khumalo of AmaNtungwa Tribal Council.

Communities have shown interest in attending the main event and pick up points for those requiring transport have been co-ordinated.

Let me speak of what I know in terms of activities by my Department – Employment and Labour. Teams of officials from UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund), PES (Public Employment Services), CF (Compensation Fund) and IES (the labour inspectors)
embarked on an outreach programme where they took services to closer where people live as from the 7th to the 23rd November 2022 - roving across the towns and community halls in Emadlangeni, Emabhodini, Emadadeni, Emaxhakeni, KwaMdakane, Springbok, Dannhauser and AmaNtungwa Tribal Authority, Bersig, and Koppie Allen.

As a result of such outreach campaigns UIF has managed to assist a total of 938 clients with their enquiries mainly on CovidTERS and WABU (grants made in the aftermath of the violence last year) benefits, checking their status or taking applications. An amount of R182 600 was paid to qualifying clients. Interventions on EPWP workers from Emadlangeni Municipality were successfully made. Physical verification of certain companies assisted in reviewing their WABU claims.

The project of taking and processing claims for former Educator Assistants has started to be rolled out in Amajuba District and huge numbers have been reported on a daily basis from the 21st October 2022. Other centres will be visited once Amajuba District has been completed - at Madadeni, Amajuba TVET College stadium, Bersig (Utrecht) and Dannhauser Primary School.

PES has reported a total of 372 work seekers that were registered, whilst Compensation Fund trained and loaded users onto the claims system – Compeasy - in Ladysmith, Newcastle, Dundee Provincial Hospitals, AmaNtungwa Tribal Authority, Umzinyathi, Newcastle Alfred Duma Municipalities and some private companies such as NU 1 Solutions, VDM Company and the Kings Group. Ten injured employees were assisted with claim enquiries.

To address the issues of high levels of worker exploitation in the clothing and textiles factories in Newcastle, a team of Inspectors from various Labour Centre’s, the Bargaining Council, the Department of Home Affairs and SAPS conducted Blitz Inspections of factories in Newcastle and Madadeni Industrial Park from 14 to 18 November 2022. A total of 70 factories, employing a total 30 539 employees, were inspected during the campaign with 6 night inspections conducted. The compliance rate was disappointingly low at only 8% of the inspected factories.

A total of 100 illegal foreign nationals were arrested by Immigration Officers i.e. 73x Lesotho, 18x Swazi, 2x Malawians, 1x Zimbabwean, 1x Mozambiquean nationals and 5x Chinese employers. 1x fraudulent case of misrepresentation in terms of S 61 of the EEA (Employment Equity Act) was opened at SAPS. A total of over R148 million was claimed through the enforcement notices that were served.

Our decision to hold this event at this time of the year was to mark Disability Raising Awareness Month (DRAM) – which is celebrated globally in November. Disability awareness is the practice of knowing, acknowledging, and accepting individuals' experiences as they relate to disability. Knowing, being aware, and moving beyond your own level of comfort is key to a greater understanding as well.

Through disability awareness, the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding those with disabilities can be brought to the forefront. When these are gone, attitudes and behaviours become more positive. An individual’s disability can play a major role in his/her life: whether it’s positive or negative. But overcoming the challenges and developing confidence is vital and admirable. As a society, it is our utmost duty to allow people with disabilities to experience a life they deserve, providing opportunities for everyone to get involved in creating a positive, inclusive society for all.

Promoting disability awareness starts from home. A place where the positive attitudes, values and customs are reinforced on a regular basis. Home is dear to everyone, a place of comfort and understanding towards every aspect of life. Teaching your children about disability will help in breaking social barriers and allow a better, wholesome approach to inclusion of people with disabilities.

Disability awareness in the workplace involves educating the workforce about disability. The purpose of the awareness is to create a better understanding of disability as a whole, and specifically the need to respect the Employment Equity Act – which requires the employer to set targets for the employment of persons with disabilities, at all levels of the organisation.

In recent decades there has been a distinct shift towards a new and more inclusive model of disability. This new social model suggests that barriers and limitations for persons with disabilities exist as a result of the way in which our workplaces and societies are organised rather than as a result of the disability. It further highlights that many of the barriers experienced are attitudinal and emphasises the need to focus on the abilities of an individual rather than the perceived limitations.

From the side of the Department of Employment I need to mention the work that we do nationally in the Supported Employment Enterprises which has 13 factories across South Africa in all provinces except Mpumalanga, but it is in the plans.

These factories recruit, train and employ people with disabilities and help sustain multiple livelihoods and give dignity and access to employment to people with disabilities who struggle to get employment as they are misunderstood by employers in terms of their capabilities and potential.

I also need to mention the great work done by our Compensation Fund in treating and rehabilitating workers who have disabilities as a result of a workplace accident. This includes the provision of adaptive devices to assist workers with disabilities to function and get back to working.

Even as the Disability Raising Awareness Month draws to a close, we are at the start of the ’16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children’. Comrades this is a scourge in our nation and we all have a role to play in combatting Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (the killing of women).

This approach requires each and every one of us to take collective responsibility in ensuring safer communities for women and children. This campaign requires us to support the following:

Economic power for women

  • Challenge harmful cultures and practices that maintain gender inequalities.
  • Women have a right to being equally represented in the economy.
  • Perpetrators take advantage of economic dependency their spouses have on them, to become abusive and violent.
  • Do not be part of an environment that condones abuse and killing of women and children.

Play your part to end the scourge of violence and abuse

  • Reject and report abusers – act and don’t look away!
  • Do not protect abusers, report them!
  • Do not engage in abusive behaviours and activities – Stop abuse.
  • Challenge and denounce cultural practices that perpetuate gender inequalities in your circles.
  • Support victims – share helpful information and support cases near you.
  • Seek personal help to change harmful behaviours such as alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Teach children values of gender equality.
  • Protect children from exposure to violence and harmful content on internet and social media, including pornography and sexual solicitation/advances.

With those words let me thank you all for attending, and also a special word of thanks to the organisers and the many officials and partners in the private and public sectors for their participation in making this event a success.

Thank you.

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