Unemployed men gather daily at Boy de Goede Circle, hoping to land an odd job. It can be a long and futile wait, but a ward councillor wants to help them by starting a job centre at Potsdam Interchange.
At last month’s Sub-council 3 meeting, Dr Joy McCarthy submitted a motion to improve facilities at the interchange, giving the men somewhere to wait for work.
Dr McCarthy believes this will make job-seekers’ lives easier and also curb the loitering and littering that tend to characterise the present haphazard arrangement.
“Not only do they create litter where they spend the day, but, having no toilets either, the pick-up places become smelly and unpleasant,” she said in her proposal.
“This will protect both the job seekers and job givers, adding toilet facilities and simultaneously removing the nuisance in the suburb and occupying the land at risk.”
The Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF) backs the plan.
Chairwoman Karen Davis said a node where job seekers could be collected from and where they would have access to ablutions, food stalls and an office offering support and administrative and social assistance would be a “golden prize and very necessary for this community”.
Left unchecked, job seekers caused disturbances to residents, impeded traffic flow and were not a good advert for the area, she said.
Siyavuya Ndletyana, of Dunoon, is one of the men who wait at Boy De Goede Circle from morning to night to get an odd job or two. It’s a ritual he has followed for about 15 years.
It was around noon when Tabletalk spoke to Mr Ndletyana.
He had eaten nothing and was brooding over the 18 men he’d seen get picked up for work before him.
The fact that most of them were foreigners didn’t sit well with him.
“I don’t want to sound like I have anything against foreigners, but I find that they will work for way less money than we would, and I also blame the employers because they make it very difficult for us because they take this cheap labour and leave us here.
“I don’t think we are wrong for wanting to be paid a reasonable fee for the types of jobs we do.”
The men at the circle said they were open to the councillor’s proposal, but they said they didn’t speak for everyone as there were those who had been on the side of the road for longer than them.
“Personally, I think this would be great because then we wouldn’t have to be chased away from businesses, and we would have bathrooms to relieve ourselves.
“But again, I don’t speak for everyone,” said Zolile Fetman, another Dunoon job seeker for the past 15 years.
They also said that something similar to Dr McCarthy’s plan had been tried already and had failed – a container had been set up near the Killarney taxi rank but after employers started staying away, the job seekers had drifted back to their usual spots on the corner of Koeberg and Blaauwberg roads, Boy De Goede and Bayside Mall.
Dr McCarthy said she recalled that initiative, and she would be happy to speak to the men about their concerns once her proposal got the go-ahead.
“We need for this project to work. If properly done, it will benefit the workers as well as those who want to employ them by creating a reliable database with experience and references or each worker.
“We would also like to expand the scope of this job exchange to include a skills-development aspect, so that those who are unskilled can be given basic skills training which will make them more employable.”
To work, the job exchange needed the cooperation of both the job seekers and those hiring them, she said.