Low-skilled labour plan could provide solution to unemployment challenge

08 September 2017

Industrial research and development engineering company Greville Wood Developments (GWD) is awaiting funding to re-create a 1986 manufacturing proof study and farming plan, called the Warrenton Plan, which could collectively create about 2 300 jobs in Warrenton, in the Northern Cape and subsequently be rolled out into low-skilled communities across South Africa.

GWD owner Greville Wood says he has submitted proposals to several government offices, including the Department of Trade and Industry and the City of Johannesburg, to prove the effectiveness of the plan as a job and wealth creator in rural and township areas.

Warrenton has been selected for the rural component of the project and Wood explains that the project will initially provide training, employment and business ownership for 50 unskilled and unemployed community members.

The project requires R13-million in loan finance to develop the training programmes and the farms. An additional R3.5-million in grant funding is required for further training, as well as the development of a mentorship and management systems programme.

“The job-creating potential is significant, creating more than 2 000 farming jobs and 300 manufacturing jobs in a town of some 25 000 people with high levels of unemployment,” Wood asserts.

Meanwhile, the Dieplsloot township, in Johannesburg, has been selected for the urban component of the plan, which entails the training and development of 50 farmers through an apprenticeship programme. The project also requires R13-million in loan financing and a R2.5-million grant.

The manufacturing component of the project, which entails the manufacturing of low-cost housing units, requires between R6-million and R8-million, depending on the product complexity.

Wood highlights that the manufacturing component of the plan aims to produce four low-cost houses a day, which can then be used to replace the informal dwellings of Warrenton and Diepsloot. Further, the people employed under the plan will receive training to manage their own farming and manufacturing businesses, which can individually be established in about nine months.

Once the study has been completed, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) will need to develop the manufacturing specifications for the low-cost houses and raise the quality bar for these units. Subsequently, and once further funding has been secured, the project can move into the development of SABS-approved houses anywhere in South Africa, with the added feature of bondability.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue