Job creation for youth and artisan development featured high on priorities committed to in the State of the Province Address delivered by Premier Supra Mahumapelo of the North West Province Legislature and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.Responding to commitments from the provincial leaders Sephaku Cement Chief Executive Pieter Fourie affirmed the company’s support of regional targets and initiatives. Mahumapelo aims to create 7 407 job opportunities through infrastructure development, the green economy and social economy during the 2014/15 financial year, while in Mpumalanga the target put forward was 78 000 per year over the next five years. Supporting job creation Fourie states, “As our business grows, we will do what is in our power to support the people of the North West and Mpumalanga to make a real difference to their lives.” To date, the company has recruited more than half of the employees at its flagship plant, Aganang, from local communities. Most of these people have never been employed or were unemployed prior to the commencement of the project.
“As we move into the operational phase of the Aganang plant, our employment numbers will reach 170 people at the cement factory and an additional 300 employment opportunities will be created through subcontractors,” says Fourie. The majority of the semi-skilled employees will be recruited from the adjacent communities.During the company’s construction phase, Sephaku Cement’s project contractor spent approximately R500 million with local subcontractors, of which the majority were from the North West Province. Developing skills Both premiers made a firm commitment to developing skills through trade and artisan training. “Development of skills in trades is critical in the two provinces,” comments Fourie. He explains that in the three years of the construction of the project, the company supported training of 10 fitters and electricians, of which 7 have been employed as artisans and artisan assistants at Aganang. Sephaku Cement will also focus on sourcing youth from FET colleges in the two regions to build its pool of learners for recruitment within its artisan programme. “We are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate by offering skills development opportunities to young people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds,” concludes Fourie.