The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs launches the Youth Jobs in Waste Programme

Phuthaditjhaba, Qwaqwa, Free State Province, 17 June 2013


The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa today, 17 June 2013 launched the Youth Jobs in Waste Programme. The launch, which took place in Phuthaditjhaba, Free State, formed part of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) Environment and Youth Month celebrations.

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day, as set by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is “Think. Eat. Save”. The Department of Environmental Affairs has also adopted this theme for the 2013 Environment Month celebrations.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said, “The waste sector has been identified as one of the critical sectors with the potential to contribute substantially to the generation of jobs within the green economy.  It is in this light that the department is increasingly expanding its programmes in job creation and enterprise development programmes in this sector.”

The Youth Jobs in Waste Programme is the result of a study that DEAundertook in 2007, which assessed the status of waste services delivery, as well as capacity at local government level. The study presented an account of the backlog with regards to solid waste service delivery in all municipalities in the country. In order to address this backlog, and create capacity within municipalities in order to lessen the burden with regards to the provision of waste services, the department developed this initiative. It was also developed in recognition of the fact that the waste sector is now, more than ever, ready for major investment in both infrastructure development as well as capacity building programmes to create decent jobs and fuel the green economy.

The programmealso aims to create job opportunities, on-the-job training, continuous up-skilling, as well as enterprise development for the youth. An estimated 1 000 job opportunities will be created by placing young people in municipalities as Landfill Site Assistants, Waste Collection Administrators and Environmental Awareness Educators. Further work opportunities will be created from the construction activities associated with the building or erection of landfill site offices, ablution facilities, as well as weighpad platforms at landfill sites across the country. It is also expected that some of the young people recruited into the Programme will move on to further their environmental careers, either in other employment sectors or become involved in business ventures.

The Programme will be rolled out in five provinces around the country, namely Free State, North West, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Free State will see 330 young people recruited for the project. There will 326 in North West and 140 each for Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

As part of the Programme, and in response to the technical knowledge gap with regards to landfill site operation and management, the Department conducted training sessions in all provinces in the 2011/12 fiscal year. From the assessment of training evaluations, it is clear that the training has significantly imparted necessary skills to municipal officials. DEA now wishes to extend this training to other young  people who will be placed in municipalities across the country.

The young people, upon completing the short course, will be based at the Landfill Operations and will assist with the day-to-day management and administration related to the operations at the landfills. Key tasks relate to the operation of weighpad technology as well as monitoring workface activities.Young people placed as Waste Collection Administrators will be responsible for assisting collections managers to plan, manage, monitor and implement the collection of waste in municipalities. Thoserecruited asEnvironmental Awareness Educatorswill be attached to a local municipality to assist the municipality in the introduction and implementation of source separation in the form of campaigns.

The money invested in the Youth Jobs in Waste Programme will have a number of positive returns. These include enhancing the capacity of municipalities to provide waste services, improving service delivery, providing decent and sustainable work opportunities for young people (and thereby reducing youth unemployment), as well as promoting recycling and associated industries.

Further highlighting the importance of this programme, the Minister said, “It is important that the state improves its capacity to deliver waste services. This is not only to meet service delivery needs, but also to provide dignity and quality of life to our people.”

>> Download the Minister’s speech

For media queries contact:                                 

Albi Modise, Spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs
Cell: 083 490 2871