Durban, South Africa


Background and context

Against a backdrop of enduring challenges in low economic growth, unemployment (particularly of the youth), and the recent credit ratings downgrade, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have hit South Africa as a perfect storm.


The record-high (and increasing) unemployment levels, the low survival rate of companies and the collapsed informal sector bear testament to the fact that the multidimensional magnitude, severity and intensity of the crisis remain unmet. Creating jobs, developing enterprises, and ‘just’ rebuilding the economy will not suffice. We need to jumpstart, to revamp the economy. The extent to which the economy will bounce back depends to a large extent on how people, communities, enterprises, and corporates can optimally leverage the government’s support packages and collaborate across sectors and stakeholders.

Labour Market

The challenges of the key labour market stakeholders are strongly interconnected and complex. To find solutions, we cannot rely on top-down solutions, implemented sequentially. We need grassroots solutions, implemented in parallel, connected to the top to maximise buy-in. And we need to exploit the potential of technology; blending virtual online platforms with community-driven action.

This is aligned to the approach taken in the District Development Model (DDM), was launched by the President in 2019.  The DDM requires a greater speed of delivery and integrated planning. It prioritises social partnerships and collaboration with all sectors of society and communities. It further aims to strengthen community participation and advocates for cohesive communities.

As the first metro where the DDM is being implemented, eThekwini is ideally placed to serve as the initial target area for appropriate interventions to address the challenges highlighted above.  With this in mind, our proposal focuses on eThekwini, with the intention that this implementation will serve as a blueprint for other metros and districts.

Solution is poised to introduce our solution to Ignite the Future, Today. will be the engine for people to take action themselves to revamp the economy. Our solution is:

  • Rapid - The solutions can be rolled out fast.
  • Integrated - eThekwini has already implemented an impressive range of projects to foster economic development.
  • Local - will embrace and support existing initiatives. This project will be run for and by people of eThekwini.
  • Virtual - The platform is fully digital, and all project parts have virtual interfaces.
  • Granular - The project parts are akin to lego blocks, they can be implemented independently and replaced if better versions become available.
  • Self-starting - will focus on empowering local leaders and offering them a self-starting toolkit of solutions.
  • Measurable - All solutions will be analysed using big data algorithms.
  • Evidence-based - Further roll-out of the solutions depends on the evidence gathered from the previous measurements.

Project beneficiaries recognises four key stakeholders in the economy:

  • Individuals: every person needs a decent income, and fast. The best avenue to earn a decent income in this new reality is to take action yourself, create the opportunity, and get productive.
  • Employers: there is no picking up where you left it. S(M)MEs and corporates alike will need to reconfigure and restart the business. They will need access to the right talent and the right tools to get back to business.
  • Education: COVID-19 has catapulted education online. To upskill and reskill people on- and offline and prepare them for re-emerging, new, and future jobs, the sector will need to take action rapidly.
  • Region: the unmatched financial support packages come with an unmatched responsibility. All three tiers of government need to act fast and take evidence-based measures that are fast, inclusive, verifiable, and clean.