Employment Minister Nxesi warns against scammers at Jobs Fair in Durban

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi warned job-seekers against scammers and those trying to solicit bribes within the labour market during the Jobs Fair at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Thursday. Picture: Jehran Naidoo

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi warned job-seekers against scammers and those trying to solicit bribes within the labour market during the Jobs Fair at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Thursday. Picture: Jehran Naidoo

Published Sep 28, 2023


The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, urged caution against scammers to job-seekers attending the State-organised jobs fair at a packed Durban Exhibition Centre on Thursday.

The turnout at the event saw more than three times the expected figure at the event, which was 500 people, according to Department of Labour and Employment employees at the venue.

Minister Nxesi arrived on time, together with BRICS delegates from Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as a Cuban delegation, who all made their way to the CBD from uMhlanga, where BRICS meetings were held this week.

Attentive to Nxesi's speech, prospective job-seekers waited for the minister to deliver good news in terms of employment opportunities, but their expectations were not entirely met.

Nxesi did not dive into statistics of the employment situation in South Africa, but did mention that the country suffered a huge knock during the pandemic, where about three million jobs were lost.

Minister Nxesi, however, did show a form of ‘tough love’, telling job-hunters to show grit in the pursuit of employment or starting their own business.

The majority of the crowd that pitched at the event were young, with a fair showing of older people seeking employment.

Employment-seekers attending the Jobs Fair at the Durban Exhibition Centre during Minister Thulas Nxesi’s address. Picture: Jehran Naidoo

Job-hunters should be wary of scammers in the labour market who understand the desperate nature of those seeking employment in the current labour climate, the Minister said.

“Be very careful of scams, where people want a lot of money. They advertise their own things. As a government, we don’t want money, we are helping people to get jobs. Please, stay away from them. Check with your labour centre, check with your municipality and ask if it is genuine.

“There are many scammers out there, you only realise after you paid your money,” Nxesi said.

In typical South African politics style, mid-way through his speech, Nxesi broke off into a struggle song - "My mother was a kitchen girl, my father was a garden boy, that's why I'm a communist".

The reaction from the crowd was not what he expected, as mainly the South African government delegation joined in, while the young crowd at the back sat in silence and stared at the spectacle.

The atmosphere among attendees was one of frustration, based on interviews and the mood of the crowd.

About 50 people who wanted to hear Nxesi talk were prevented from doing so when security sealed the door as he started to deliver the keynote address. One of those individuals is an unemployed 27-year-old ANC member from Hammarsdale, west of the city.

Nkosinathi Luthuli, who we sat next to on the floor interviewing, had a broken right hand and attended the event with his two younger sisters.

All three of them are unemployed and came to the city hoping the event would be a glimmer of hope, but Luthuli did not even get to see the Minister speak.

“I’ve been unemployed since February, so its quite a while now. I studied administration at Elangeni Tvet College and DUT, both for three years each. I have two diplomas and still can’t find a job,” Luthuli said.

“I came here and thought I’d find something in my field you, know, but I couldn’t even get inside to hear the Minister speak.”

Prior to the Minister’s arrival, IOL spoke to a few education graduates at the event and asked them how difficult it was to get a job as a government teacher, which all of them described as “virtually impossible”.

They asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons.

The common thread among all of them was that they knew they had to “pay a bribe to someone” in order to get a job in the government.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education stall was abuzz with prospective educators looking to get into the government. Picture: Jehran Naidoo

Following Nxesi’s speech, IOL asked him what he thought about the graduates' sentiments about paying a bribe to get a job at the Department of Education.

“Such people must be quietly exposed. They must be reported to our offices. People must talk as whistle-blowers so we can find those people and nail them. We know that there are those unscrupulous elements who continue to do these things, but it is important that you report to the police station or quietly use our hotline to report these things,” Nxesi said.