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GPG’s e-Waste Programme tackles youth unemployment and empowermentBy Admin Writer
26 July 2023
The growing number of electronic devices in recent years has given rise to a pressing environmental issue known as electronic waste, or e-waste. The Gauteng Department of e-Government, Research, and Development in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg, developed the e-Waste Management Strategy to implement safe and effective measures for the collection, processing, and disposal of e-waste throughout the Gauteng City Region.
While the growing amount of e-waste is a cause for serious concern, the sector presents unprecedented economic opportunities for new businesses and jobs especially for young people. In February 2023, the department hired 25 young people as e-Waste Administrative Assistants to oversee the e-waste management process. This move came after the department established 25 e-waste drop-off sites in Gauteng's five corridors, where citizens can safely and conveniently dispose of their e-waste.
The admin assistants have been strategically placed at all the drop-off sites in and around the province. Their daily activities include receiving, sorting, dismantling, and recycling of e-waste. They are also responsible for educating communities and the public at large about the importance of the safe disposal of e-waste and how it benefits the environment.
Siphesihle Mthembu, 24, from the south of Johannesburg, recalls how she had never heard of e-waste when she first saw the vacancies on the department's social media page but applied because she thought it would be a great learning curve.
“Working as an e-waste admin has been a real eye-opener for me, as I was unaware of all the opportunities that exist with these products that we think have reached the end of their life cycle. I have learned a lot and am enjoying imparting this knowledge to other people with the hope that they too can identify the opportunities that exist within this fascinating sector and also take part”.
The department has forged partnerships with several stakeholders all from different parts of the world to ensure an effective e-waste management system in the province.
Lwando Ciko, 29, from the West Rand, said meeting and learning from partners from different countries has been the highlight of his job as an administrative assistant. "The most fascinating part for me has been engaging with pioneers from countries such as Kenya and Italy who have made a mark within e-waste in their respective countries. Learning about how much they have accomplished, and the possibilities excites me to see what we can accomplish in our province through this program."
The admin assistants are continuously being capacitated on environmentally sound management of e-waste through various training designed to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle electronic waste safely and efficiently.
MEC for CoGTA, e-Government, Research and Development, Mzi Khumalo says the idea behind the project was to bring about economic opportunities while ensuring workable and safe solutions for the management of e-waste.
“Through the strategy, we want to create an ecosystem to dispose of, recycle or donate e-Waste products in a manner that creates small businesses and job opportunities, especially among the youth. We are looking at innovative ways to clean up our environment while coming up with e-waste programs that will inspire the youth to be creative and receive training on how to recycle e-waste. This will assist them to be economically empowered to start their own small businesses on e-waste management.”
The Gauteng Department of e-Government through its e-Waste Unit is in the process of improving the skills of those involved in the e-waste management sector so they can take advantage of the economic opportunities and create jobs.
According to MEC Khumalo, the partnerships that have been forged with the private sector and learning institutions will enable them to train more youth, SMMEs, and waste pickers, which will empower them to take full advantage of the economic opportunities of the e-waste sub-sector of the waste and circular economy.
For more information on this programme please contact email@example.com
For enquiries please contact:
Mr. Sithembiso Ndlovu on 0721838922. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Kgapa Mabusela on 0664865411. Email: email@example.com
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