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Dozens protest in suburb over jobs

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Unemployment, particularly among the youth, was of major concern to the community as it was a substantial contributing factor to the rampant crime rate in the area

GIVE US WORK: Residents yesterday demanded that they be the first to be considered for jobs.

A HIGH unemployment rate, despite ongoing construction projects in the neighbourhood, saw protests flare up in Galeshewe yesterday.

The police were called to the scene while traffic was interrupted when dozens of fuming residents from Ward 17 took to the streets to demand that they be the first to be considered when jobs become available in their neighbourhood.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Jabulani Mokhutswane explained that unemployment, particularly among the youth, was of major concern to the community as it was a substantial contributing factor to the rampant crime rate in the area.

According to the Mokhutswane, the few job prospects that did become available were created through various construction and development projects but were quickly snapped up by outsiders before the community had even been informed of their existence.

He emphasised that the ward councillor, Ishmael Petoro, was the main source of contention and had failed to deliver as expected.

“All we get from our councillor are empty promises,” Mokhutswane said yesterday. “We have a very high unemployment rate and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of improvement.

“There have been developments in our area, including construction projects, but nobody lets us know about any available work despite the fact that we are the ones who will be using the structures upon completion.

“The youth are the ones who are really bearing the brunt of it as they have no platforms to develop their skills and hardly any local prospects of finding gainful employment.

“For those who don’t even have a matric, there are even less options and they are unlikely to find any work.

“This is where many are being forced to turn to crime.”

Yesterday, Petoro confirmed that he was aware of the residents’ concerns and said steps were being taken to reach an amicable resolution.

“We had a meeting at Helen Joseph this morning to try and sort out the matter,” Petoro said yesterday afternoon. “The residents are unhappy because they want to be hired for an ongoing project in the area.”

The councillor explained that the development in question was a construction project that impacted on two wards and had seen community members from both areas incorporated.

“We aren’t the only ward involved in the project. There are 30 workers on site and 15 of them are from Ward 17.

“However, more from our community are looking to work on this development and we will be meeting with the contractor to consider the options.”