Media: Residents demand lion’s share of jobs at mall

28 10 2009

October 27, 2009 Edition 2
THANDANANI MHLANGA – Cape Argus

GUGULETHU residents protesting outside the new Gugulethu Square Mall, demanded that they be given 80 percent of the jobs available there when it opens on Thursday.

The Anti-Eviction Campaign led a protest march at the new mall yesterday, alleging that corruption, bribery and nepotism had taken place in its tender and job-creation process.
Residents alleged that ward councillors had secured jobs for members of their families, and that the mall’s workforce was largely made up of Khayelitsha residents who had “bribed” their way into jobs.

The multimillion-rand mall is the first fully enclosed black township mall in Cape Town and is the brainchild of prominent city businessman Mzoli Ngcawuzele, the owner of popular Mzoli’s Meat and Grill.

The Western Cape’s Anti-Eviction Campaign was dissatisfied with the manner in which tenders and job opportunities at the mall had been handled, its co-ordinator, Mcedisi Twala, said.

He said the culprits involved in nepotism and corruption had been identified, and that residents were aware of who they were.

He vowed to lay charges if the parties involved could not prove that the process had been transparent and fair.

Thobeka Mali, a Gugulethu resident, said people from the area were being ignored by employers at the mall.

“We gave our names for jobs and we went for interviews. If we want a job here, we must pay R500,” she alleged.

Maria Mkhonto, 50, said people of her age had been at a disadvantage in the job application process.

“We don’t want to hear about CVs. I can hold a mop, I have 13 years of domestic work experience. Where will we get CVs at our age?” she said.

Ngcawuzele said all the allegations had been fabricated by an individual with “self-interests”.

“The process was properly monitored by community structures such as the (Gugulethu Development Forum), which made sure that Gugulethu residents had first preference (for jobs),” he said.

He said there was a registration office at the construction site where people from Gugulethu could register their CVs and that a website had been created specifically for them to apply for jobs.

Ngcawuzele also said that 37% of the construction workforce was made up of Gugulethu residents.

The Gugulethu Development Forum had met retailers at the mall on October 3 and told them what was expected of them, including that Gugulethu residents be given preference for employment, forum chairwoman Nikitta Bazi said.

“It was a constructive decision and we were given assurances that in (the retailers’) recruitment, Gugulethu residents would be given preferential treatment.”

Bazi said the forum had deployed two people at the mall to ensure that the selection of CVs was in line with those requirements.

She said retailers had been co-operative so far.

The development forum is due to meet Anti-Eviction Campaign leaders and Gugulethu residents at 6pm today.

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