Locals still fighting for jobs

GMCF’s main complaint is that companies often hire ‘outsiders’, as opposed to members of the local community

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Members of Govan Mbeki Community Forum took to the gates of Specibase labour brokers on 8 May 2018. The forum members alleged that the company had made an agreement with them to recruit local residents for employment.
The forum has long adopted a proactive stance to the issue of unemployment in the area, and is regularly in talks with various companies and labour brokers, including M&S, NOVA, MegChem and Hydra Arc. GMCF’s main complaint is that companies often hire ‘outsiders’, as opposed to members of the local community. As a result, unemployment and the drawbacks attached to it are plaguing the community, and in particular, residents of eMbalenhle.
Members of the forum are accusing the recruitment company of not being transparent, and took to their headquarters to confront this issue. They were, however, removed from the premises by security, followed by the presence of the police at the gates. Specibase doors were locked when our reporter approached to investigate, and a voice from inside said that this was “a very crucial time and the door will not be opened today”.
On 14 May, however, a representative of Specibase cleared the air. “We are trying very hard to work with the forum on the issue of unemployment,” she said. “But by law, we are actually not allowed to provide them with our database. That is the personal information of the employees which legally cannot be disclosed.”
She did, however, mention that she is not certain of what agreement her superior and the forum came to in this regard.
“We do understand that the employment issue in South Africa is bleak at the moment, and so we want to help where we can,” she went on.
“We definitely consider whether someone is local or not when it comes to recruitment.”
It was also explained that although the locality of candidates is considered, it is important for the brokers to consider whether or not candidates actually qualify for a job. Sometimes, the representative said, the most suitable candidate is someone from elsewhere and in such cases, they are given preference.
The GMCF also accused Specibase of inviting candidates to secretly sign contracts at odd hours of the night, in order not be found out (because those candidates are supposedly not local residents). The Specibase representative denied these allegations, however, stating that the residents may have seen potential employees from other companies who were on site at training facilities and mistaken them for new candidates.
The forum grows increasingly frustrated with local companies and strongly believe that they are purposely being denied work opportunities. Most brokers have stated that this is not the case, and that employment is generally scarce in the country. “These people don’t want to comply with us,” said Tshepo Ngcongwane, secretary of the forum. “We don’t know what to do anymore so we gather in large numbers and approach all the companies directly.”
GMCF remains in constant negotiation with companies like Specibase.

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