Over 400 people turned up at the Braamfontein offices of the Gauteng department of public works on Monday October 9, to apply for 45 cleaning posts.
The department had advertised the vacancies at Johannesburg’s courts a week earlier.
“Public works is a custodian to all government buildings,” said Coreen Nyapisi from the provincial human resources department. “So 45 posts became available at 10 courts around Johannesburg. The vacancies were available as a result of untimely deaths and resignations from previous workers.
“There is no strict period or time where posts are available. It happens as and when the need arises,” said Nyapisi.
On public perceptions that the government does not employ people who apply through formal processes such as responding to adverts, Nyapisi, who said she had been working in HR “for years”, said that was a false impression.
“We do open posts and take on the formal employment process, no backdoors are used. I work and am part of the process, so I can speak from experience within my sector. We published and made notices which we put in all courts and, through word of mouth, made known the availability of the posts. The applicants are given a choice to apply to a specific court or to all 10 courts,” said Nyapisi
The applicants who were in the queue were hopeful about their prospects.
Candice Buso (27) who is from Orlando West in Soweto, said she heard of the vacancies from her neighbour. “I have been unemployed for a year and have two sons who are dependent on me.” She said that although she had never heard of anyone who had applied getting a post, she was hopeful that she may get a job.
Buso, who has a matric qualification, described looking for employment as a “daunting and difficult process. I have no choice but to keep trying, and I will take whatever it is that they give me, just to support my children”.
Nyapisi said the issue of unemployment, more so of young people in the country, was a big issue. “We get applications from the most qualified people with degrees to people who couldn’t finish their matric. We decided to be lenient with working experience and chose not to have it as criteria for employment in an effort to cater for all,” she said.
Tebogo Kholele (33), a single mother of three, told Wits Vuvuzela that she trusted the process and hoped for a positive outcome. “I decided to apply because I have a month left at my current employer where I work as a cleaner.”
Vincent Mokwele (34), a qualified health safety practitioner currently working as a freelance technician, said he would stop being a technician if he was offered a cleaning job. “I need something stable and that will give me a fixed salary come month end,” he said.
Nyapisi said the applicants would be shortlisted and called in for interviews. She said the placement of cleaners would take place throughout October.