South Africa in desperate need of artisans: Mamabolo

26 July 2018 - 15:45 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Gauteng infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo.
Gauteng infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo.
Image: Supplied

We need more artisans.

This was the sentiment expressed by Gauteng infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo‚ speaking alongside deputy higher education minister Buti Manamela on Thursday. The duo said society needed to do away with the mindset that artisan jobs were less important‚ saying that their skills were in demand in South Africa at the moment.

They also urged people to enrol in colleges‚ irrespective of their ages.

Manamela also argued that artisan jobs were regarded as lesser prestige because one got their hands dirty. But he said this needed to be done away with‚ saying there were many benefits of this kind of work - including good salaries. “Artisans are better paid than some of us in suits and ties‚” he said.

According to Bethuel Netshiswinzhe‚ head of the infrastructure department‚ the average entry salary of an artisan in the department was R199‚000 per annum. Meanwhile‚ it is R368‚000 per annum at Eskom.

Netshiswinzhe‚ Manamela and Mamabolo were speaking at the Moses Kotane skills centre programme‚ launched at George Tabor Campus TVET College‚ Soweto.

Artisans included carpenters‚ electricians‚ mechanics and technicians.

Mamabolo said the reason for launching the initiative this month was also to honour and celebrate the centenaries of struggle heroes Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

Mamabolo said he was excited and confident the programme was going to deal with the scourge of unemployment in South Africa‚ while he also expressed discontent at the high number of graduates who stand at traffic lights holding placards asking for employment.

“The programme must be a home for the youth and graduates. It will give practical and workplace experience while also helping them get job placements‚” he said.

The University of Johannesburg was appointed manager of the programme to ensure that it will be aligned to the needs of the market.

A representative from the Kotane family said it was an honour to name the centre after struggle icon Moses Kotane.