Erefaan Ramjam, a volunteer community worker in the Bo-Kaap, is still waiting for a response from the City of Cape Town about managing recreational events for the area’s youth.
The Atlantic Sun spoke to Mr Ramjam last month (Recreational activities scarce in Bo-Kaap, February 9, 2023) and had a meeting with City officials on February 14.
Somila Magqaza, the City’s Senior Facility Officer for Recreation and Parks, was in attendance, as were Phumla Mrubata, Priscilla Myataza, Wilmot Arendse, Albert Webster, Chad Hearne, and Lucilla Muller.
The Atlantic Sun has a copy of the minutes of the meeting and has yet to receive a word from the City regarding the discussion about the Bo-Kaap youth who are deemed to be troublesome.
“I’ve received communication from Mr Arendse but the others have not responded. I have also approached the provincial government for assistance and they asked us to get the details of these youngsters,” said Mr Ramjam who has also started a NPO, the Nozomi Foundation, to assist the youngsters in the area.
“I have provided them (Western Cape Department of Social Development) with the profiles and I’m hoping that there will be action from the City as well as from the provincial department. Unemployment is also a problem and you see all the car guards on the street. I see them harassing tourists and this is not a good look for tourism,” he said.
On Wale Street, a few young men serve as car-guards, helping visitors with parking and informing them about what to see in the area. Noor Salie, 24, has been vehicle guarding since he was laid off as a housekeeper at the Hyatt hotel more than 18 months ago.
“I am looking for a job but this is what we do, we are doing this because unemployment is so high and we are looking but there is nothing. I don’t know of any jobs that the government is offering but I am looking, I have a resume. I worked for two years at the Hyatt and at other hotels so I have that experience,” Mr Salie said.
Wajidee Simons, 22, dropped out of high school in grade 8 and now hangs out with his friends while they guard cars. He claims to be searching for work.
“This is the only way for them to get money legally, it’s not a must for people to give them money but the foreigners do.” said Mr Simons.
“There are many people that don’t have matric that look for work but because I didn’t finish school I am struggling to find a job. I hope the government can create jobs because we all have talents and even though you don’t finish school there should be an opportunity for us all,” he said.
Zubayr Charles is a 28-year-old English teacher and UCT Creative Writing Masters student. He believes there is a lack of seriousness towards education and that society should place a greater emphasis on education.
“Too many teenagers are dropping out of school and falling victim to various other socio-economic issues. In order for teenagers to improve their standards of living, they need to focus on school, study, and attain good jobs, but this is all too idealistic,“ said Mr Charles.
He adds that national unemployment is adding to the struggle of the youth and that there is no quick fix.
“Often times, people make ill-informed comments that the youth of Bo-Kaap should just get jobs, not stand on corners, or look for alternative ways to make money such as being car guards, but it is not that easy. The job market is tough, so I really sympathise with those sitting at home. I wish I knew all the solutions, but all these problems seem to be a catch 22,“ he said.
Sedick Abrahams, a cousellor at Rondebosch hospital says that the Bo-Kaap is falling apart and that residents need to act now.
“These boys are making R500 a day, if not more, so why must they go to school? That’s their attitude. They have no way of speaking to the people, to the tourists. Myself and other neighbours are trying to speak to some of the boys about what they do, the way they speak, their smoking, their conduct,” Mr Abrahams said.
“There are people like Erefaan trying to formalise how to work with these kids but we all have to get involved, just one kid at a time,” he said.
Ward 77 councillor Francine Higham says the City’s website offers posts on the Expanded Public Works Programme which can be emailed at email@example.com or called on 021 400 9406.
“The City of Cape Town’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) offers short-term and medium-term opportunities in public service-related jobs such as fire and safety marshals, public facilities’ maintenance, area cleaning and administration work,” said Ms Higham.
“To register on the database, go to your nearest sub-council office at 44 Wale Street or the Civic Centre with your ID or valid South African work permit,” she said.
Ms Higham adds that the City and the Western Cape government also have openings, but those interested in working must first register.
“The City of Cape Town employs over 22 000 staff who perform a wide range of tasks and jobs. If you are interested in applying to work with us, you can apply online,” she said.
All job applications to the City are free of charge. For more info visit: https://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Find-a-job-or-develop-skills/Apply-for-a-job-with-the-City/Apply-for-a-job/Apply for a job
“If anyone wants to become a tour guide that have to complete an accredited tour guide training course and they can then register with the Western Cape Government – you can find more information about this on the Western Cape Government website: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/service/registration-tourist-guide,” Ms Higham said.
At the time of going to print there was no comment from the tourism department or the Western Cape Department of Social Development.