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Thembisa Shologu

Amid enduring unemployment challenges, Gauteng’s youth have clung to hope, patience, and an unwavering spirit, believing that brighter days are on the horizon. 

With the unemployment rate at 36.7%, the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Nasi Ispani Mass Recruitment Programme couldn’t have arrived at a more crucial moment.

Launched on 16 June 2023, Nasi Ispani is a strategic effort by the provincial government to combat unemployment, providing meaningful job opportunities that empower individuals to unleash their full potential and contribute to the province’s prosperity.

On Saturday, 4 November 2023, at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg, the provincial government issued over 5000 appointment letters to successful job applicants as part of the mass recruitment drive. 

This number includes 250 civic education ambassadors, 2,248 early childhood development (ECD) practitioners, 517 building inspectors, and 2,166 crime prevention wardens. 

Representing the crime prevention wardens, Rachel Charles spoke about her years of fruitless job applications.

She revealed, “When the Nasi iSpani Programme came to our once barren community of Rustervaal, I knew revival had come. 

“There have been promises upon promises but no breakthrough, but Nasi Ispani to come. We are chosen for a time like this; this is our time,” she declared with gratitude for the life-changing opportunity offered by the Gauteng government.

Upon receiving her call, Rachel was overwhelmed and doubted the reality of her breakthrough. “I was so shocked,” she admitted. “I said, ‘Lord, is this happening, or is it a joke?’ It wasn’t a joke. We are ready for the streets,” she added.

Fanie Marshall, representing Building Inspectors, had also lost hope after years of job hunting. Motivated by the poor condition of buildings in his neighbourhood, Marshall saw an opportunity to make a positive impact.

“For many years, I have been applying but received no job offers. When I saw this programme online, I decided to take my chances,” he said. 

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the maintenance of building structural integrity and compliance with South African building standards.

ECD Practitioner Kaogelo Chose from Soweto shared her struggles as a graduate living in a township.
She had volunteered at nursery daycares to keep her passion for children alive as she faced silence from employers. 

“It is very disheartening to know that you have qualifications, but when you apply, there is no response, seeing your peers going far in life and you are stuck in one place.

“It is very tough, especially if you stay in a place like Soweto where neighbours will pass remarks, making it very hard for you to even get out of the house.

However, her experience volunteering with children was fulfilling, and she thanked Nasi Ispani for the opportunity to pursue her calling. 

“Volunteering has been a wonderful experience. I realised that this is just for me, being there for children and seeing their excitement, learning something from them, seeing their smiles and laughter, and interacting with them. Thank you!” she said.

Premier Panyaza Lesufi highlighted that in June, 8400 job opportunities were advertised through the programme, and a staggering 1.6 million applications were received.

While distributing appointment letters to beneficiaries, Premier Lesufi expressed pride in the programme’s success despite the negative feedback it got after the launch.

“Four months ago, thousands of young people were unemployed and had lost hope; they felt betrayed by the democracy. 

“I am proud that the Gauteng Provincial Government is handing over appointment letters to you today so that you can turn your lives around,” said Lesufi.

He emphasised that the jobs provided through Nasi Ispani were meant to address societal issues, including reducing the unemployment rate. 

Lesufi debunked doubts, saying Nasi Ispani is not a hoax or a dream. 

“We wanted to … remove your names from the unemployment list that is too long. We are beginning with you so that you can be examples of our commitment, be examples, and you can be people that can testify that Nasi Ispani is not a hoax. 

“So, you are the chosen ones. Please do not disappoint us. This is the beginning of good things to come,” added Lesufi. 


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