Original Research

Labour market interventions to assist the unemployed in two townships in South Africa

Rachéle Paver, Sebastiaan Rothmann, Anja van den Broeck, Hans de Witte
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1596 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1596 | © 2019 Rachéle Paver, Sebastiaan (Ian) Rothmann, Anja van den Broeck, Hans de Witte | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 October 2018 | Published: 27 May 2019

About the author(s)

Rachéle Paver, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Anja van den Broeck, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa; and Work and Organization Studies, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Hans de Witte, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa; and Department of Research Group Work Organisational and Personnel Psychology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


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Abstract

Orientation: Given the absence of organised and accessible information on programmes relating to unemployment in South Africa, it may be difficult for beneficiaries to derive value from existing programmes; and for stakeholders to identify possible gaps in order to direct their initiatives accordingly.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a review of existing employment initiatives within two low-income communities in South Africa, with the aim of identifying possible gaps in better addressing the needs of the unemployed.

Motivation for the study: Unemployment in South Africa does not appear to be the result of a lack of initiatives or a lack of stakeholder involvement, but rather the result of haphazard implementation of interventions. In order to intervene more effectively, addressing the identified gaps, organising and better distribution of information for beneficiaries is suggested.

Research approach, design and method: The data were collected via documentary research complemented with structured interviews. Relevant documents (N = 166) and participants (N = 610) were consulted during the data collection phase, using convenience and purposive sampling.

Main findings: A total of 496 unemployment programmes were identified. Most of the interventions were implemented by the government. Vocational training followed by enterprise development and business skills training were the most implemented programmes. Less than 6% of programmes contained psychosocial aspects that are necessary to help the unemployed deal with the psychological consequences of unemployment. Finally, in general, benefactors involved in alleviating unemployment seem unaware of employment initiatives in their communities.

Practical and managerial implications: The compilation of an inventory of employment programmes may be valuable, as it will assist in identifying the most prominent needs of the South African labour market.

Contribution or value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the availability of existing unemployment programmes, projects and interventions, and the need for specific interventions.


Keywords

Interventions; unemployment; government; civil society organisations; private sector; township; Gauteng.

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