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Economic Strengthening Livelihood Programme

Economic Strengthening Livelihood Programme

Socio-economic development support and opportunities enabling young women to become economically active.

Download our information brochure.


The Challenge

Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) throughout South Africa face unprecedented socio-economic challenges. Girls between 15 and 24 are especially marginalized and vulnerable.

Apart from high levels of HIV, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence, these young women struggle to complete schooling or further their studies and lack employment or entrepreneurship opportunities.

Based on the need to create a sustainable livelihood for these young women not in employment, not in education and not in training (NEETs), the Economic Strengthening Livelihood Programme (ESL) aimed to develop skills, offer career guidance and access to work and entrepreneurship opportunities.

The Scope

The funded project provided socio-economic development support and opportunities to 425 AGYW in Sub-District C of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The support enabled the targeted group to become economically active and to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves after completing the programme, whilst supporting these young women during programme implementation

NEXTEC’s Proposed Solution

Livelihood Skills, Opportunities and Support

Through the collaboration of NEXTEC People Solutions (MBAT), BeyondZero, NACOSA and MIET Africa the solution consisted of:

  • Livelihood Skills Training
  • Creating Livelihood Opportunities
  • Providing Livelihood Support

The Solution

  • Livelihood Skills Training NEETs attended six days of classroom-based, facilitated skills development training covering the subject areas of Work Readiness, Financial Skills and Computer literacy.


  • Livelihood Opportunities NEETs were streamed into various livelihood options including work placement, internships, education or entrepreneurship. On presentation of a Business Plan, participants received mentoring and small grants.


  • Livelihood Support NEETs in employment were supported with vouchers for transport for interviews, transport to work, food, clothing, Early Childhood Development support and given matched savings.

The Benefits

  • Livelihood Skills Training: The target of 425 was exceeded by 5 % and 445 delegates were trained.
  • Livelihood Opportunities: 205 delegates were placed in work placement opportunities, 5 in internships, 148 provided with additional education interventions and 34 entrepreneurs were capacitated through mentoring and small grants.
  • Livelihood Support: 325 delegates were provided with food and clothing vouchers, 322 with transport to work and 188 with transport to interviews. 134 who saved, were given matched savings and 72 women provided with Early Childhood Development vouchers.


Overall, the most important underlying benefits of the programme was that it impacted positively on participants’ lives and made a difference in the broader community.

About Us -MBAT

MBAT is committed to people development and offers a range of training and development solutions that are applicable across all industries.

Managing large-scale training related projects, implementing learnerships and delivering short courses is our core business.

About MBAT
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FREE TO READ | Project management set for global boom

Picture: 123RF/DOTSHOCK

Picture: 123RF/DOTSHOCK

The value of project-oriented economic activity is likely to reach $20-trillion in the next decade, with sub-Saharan Africa alone  seeing a 40% growth in project management employment opportunities.

By 2027 as many as 88-million people globally will be working in project management, a Harvard Business Review article predicts, while the global economy will need 25-million new project professionals by 2030, estimates the Project Management Institute.

This growth is being driven by rapid change and the need for greater agility.


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A revolution in mining is being driven by technology

By Sean Bennett: Head of NEXTEC

Mining is undergoing a fundamental and permanent shift. Advanced technology has begun to permeate mining operations, and this trend is only going to accelerate.

The shift is driven by clear needs within the industry, primarily the need to improve safety and reduce risk. Alongside this reduction  in risk, technology serves to enhance productivity and efficiency. The ability of miners to enhance safety and productivity relies to a significant extent on one quality: knowledge.

Knowledge is safety

Knowledge – of environments, of risk, and of humans’ relationship to risk – has always been a precious commodity in the industry. The expression “canary in a coal mine” originates from an early and rudimentary form of air-quality measurement technology. Canaries, which are more sensitive to dangerous gases than humans, would be carried into mines. If the canary passed out or died it was an indication that humans, too, were inhaling dangerous gases, and should leave the area immediately.

Mining remains an exceptionally dangerous activity. Large machinery, massive weights, high energies and often remote operations pose a vast array of potential threats. The more information we have about mining environments, operations, equipment and risk, the more safely and productively we can work. In a high-consequence area such as a mine-site, knowing exactly where your people, vehicles, equipment and zones of danger are, and their condition, allows you to effectively manage risk and consequence.

We have come a long way from carrying a bird in a cage down a mineshaft. Today we can closely monitor the position and relationship between hundreds of pieces of equipment, thousands of humans, and various zones of risk or potential danger. People are equipped with wearables – smart watches, tags, or backpacks – which broadcast their location, monitor them for signs of danger, fatigue or injury, and allow them to instantly request assistance.

Vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance systems that instantly broadcast an alert if they are likely to cross paths with or come too close to people or objects. Mine zones are equipped with multi-modal sensors that analyse atmospheric chemicals, noise and potential energy, for example, in order to constantly update risks and threats. Sensors also allow for surveillance and the reduction in theft.

We saw the potential of these systems during the coronavirus pandemic, when wearable tags allowed mines to implement systems for contact tracing that were more effective than simple temperature screenings, for example, because they didn’t depend on infected people displaying symptoms. Wearable systems also allow employees to rapidly alert supervisors if they are harassed or threatened by other employees, as well as if they are in danger.

We are rapidly approaching the ultimate goal of operational planning in which every variable with a potential effect on safety and productivity – and their relationships – are analysable in real time.

It all begins with connectivity

None of this would have been possible without breakthroughs in the reliability and effectiveness of connectivity on mining sites. Mining often takes place in remote areas, in the midst of inhospitable terrain. Mining sites are characterised by noise, dust, extremes in temperature, extreme weather events, magnetic fields, and direct lines of sight obscured by millions of tonnes of rock and ore. On top of this, it’s not sufficient for connectivity to work under these conditions sometimes. A second’s delay in the transmission of a signal can mean the difference between life and death.

Advances in connectivity (born in some instances from military and first-responder applications) have incorporated both specific technologies – mesh technology; LoRaWAn protocols; global positioning systems; BlueTooth location engines; etc. – and interprotocol communication that allows these technologies to interact with and support one another to create an unbroken, robust connectivity network that extends across the entire zone of operations, including deep underground.

Generating data

Once we have dependable, effective connectivity established, the next step is to generate useable data. Sensors can monitor dust, noise or CO2 levels, for example. Cameras and microphones can transmit visual and auditory data. Heart rate monitors can transmit data on human health.

But the power of data begins to emerge when it is analysed in real-time by advanced software. Machine learning and AIs can examine data and begin to make predictions about the future. Microphones installed on conveyor belts can identify bearings that are due to be replaced. Slope-monitoring systems can generate alerts if slopes appear unstable. And human-wearable sensors can identify fatigue before it creates safety issues.

The future

The future of technology in mining will be driven by AIs, allowing for ever quicker and more sophisticated data analysis, and an ever-increasing ability to accurately model likely future scenarios.

AIs will also allow robotics to become more autonomous, reducing the oversight role that humans will need to play. We are still many years, if not decades, away from truly autonomous robots in mines, but even robots that are dependent on human controllers have obvious applications in terms of examining dangerous areas or performing dangerous tasks, and are being rapidly adopted throughout the industry.

The evolving human role

Robots are not about to put people out of work, but the nature of work in mining will inevitably change. Technology will reduce human exposure to risk. Dangerous, unpleasant, or unhealthy work will increasingly be done by controlled or autonomous systems. People will increasingly take on supervisory roles. This will require attention from miners in terms of training and talent management. The result will be that humans will be engaged in more stimulating, rewarding and healthier work.

Since the earliest days of mining, an overriding question has been “how do we ensure the safety of people within these exceptional, high-risk environments”? The answer has proven to be real-time knowledge, underpinned by robust connectivity and analysed by intelligent software systems. It’s a tremendously exciting area of technological development, and it has tangible benefits for mining companies and their stakeholders. The result is a mine that serves its employees, reduces risk, and enhances productivity.

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Reskilling programme for retrenched workers completes first run

The final intake of learners for the maiden year of the Road to Reskilling training programme is set to take place later this month in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape.

The programme was conceived as a means of reskilling and recapacitating 300 previously retrenched workers in the automotive components manufacturing sector to support their reentry into employment by providing them with priority skills as identified in the sector skills plan.

The training programme is implemented in collaboration with National Association of Automobile and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), associate member training providers Siyaya Skills Instituteand Siyanqoba.

Siyaya Skills Institute is part of the Learning Development Group of Companies, which, in turn, is part of infrastructure and people solutions provider NEXTEC – a wholly owned subsidiary of the technology services conglomerate EOH Group.

The induction of the first intake of 81 learners took place on May 17 in Gqeberha, with an additional 36 being enrolled in Gauteng shortly thereafter. The second intake of 102 learners in Gqeberha and 37 in Gauteng completed the programme last month.

The final group of 44 learners will bring the final tally of learners to 300, thereby fulfilling the mandate of the funding, which was acquired through a discretionary grant awarded to NAACAM by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta).

“Based on the Covid-19 lockdowns, stricter work capacity regulations and the subsequent impact on the industry, we anticipated retrenchments. The programme was borne out of the need to reduce this impact,” explains NEXTEC cluster executive Brent Oakes, adding that Covid-19 was cited as a key reason for retrenchments in the industry.

However, he notes that “during the recruitment drive, we were unable to find significant numbers to ringfence the programme to the automotive component manufacturers sector, which could be indicative of a less adverse than thought impact on the sector”.

However, a formal industry survey is under way to properly quantify the impact.

The Road to Reskilling programme supports in-classroom training and includes two learning options at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 2 and NQF Level 4 – depending on the needs of the participating learners.

“NAACAM is committed to supporting the development of a pipeline of critical skills for the sector and is grateful for the generous support from the Merseta,” said NAACAM commercial director Shivani Singh at the induction in May.

Although the discretionary grant award was ringfenced to the first 300 learners, Oakes explains that there are other prospective skills-demand-driven projects in the pipeline, as well as plans for different programme iterations based on the training programme in future.

“Our focus has been on ringfencing the programme to the automotive component manufacturing and allied industries, which all form part of the automotive value chain and those retrenched within it. Additionally, there is a need for transformation with an emphasis on gender transformation at all occupational levels,” Oakes concludes.

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SOLVING TOGETHER: Learning Development Starts Here – Tech Job Creation Project a Huge Success for Youth Employment

Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative
ProServ South Africa
Faculty Training Institute

With the need for youth skills development at the forefront of everything we do, ProServ South Africa [PSA] and Faculty Training Institute [FTI] partnered with the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative [CAPACITI] in 2019 to deliver a highly successful ICT skills development project. Both PSA and FTI have a 20-year reputation of responding to IT, ICT and Business Analysis industry requirements.

The overall aim was to deliver training via reputable institutions, give practical work experience via host sites, and create job opportunities for 600 unemployed youths. For us learning and development always begins with associating with the right organisations. To this end the MICTSETA, CAPACITI, The Jobs Fund and the International Youth Foundation, have made all this possible.

Four qualifications were trained:

  • FETC: IT Technical Support – NQF Level 4
  • NC: IT Systems Development – NQF Level 5
  • NC: IT Systems Support - NQF Level 5
  • NC: Business Analysis Support Practice - NQF Level 5

Four provinces were involved:

  • Gauteng
  • Western Cape
  • Eastern Cape
  • KwaZulu Natal

The results are staggering, even in normal circumstances:

  • 568 youths aged 18 to 28 trained
  • 485 successfully graduated (85%)
  • 276 graduates employed (57%)

Given the high levels of unemployment in South Africa and a pandemic disrupting economy’s globally, this is an initiative to be truly proud of.

To all our partners, we thank you and to our graduates, we salute you.


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EOH provides comment on ENSafrica’s Steven Powell at the Commission

EOH Group Chief Executive Officer, Stephen van Coller

Steven Powell’s testimony at the Commission – 25 May 2021

EOH Group Chief Executive Officer, Stephen van Coller and EOH’s legal counsel, the ENSafrica’s head of the Forensics Department, Steven Powell initially provided testimony to the Commission in November 2020, related to irregular legacy EOH contracts. The ENSafrica investigation initiated in February 2019 at the new EOH Board's instruction, covered the period from 2015 to Stephen van Coller’s appointment in September 2018. Steven Powell’s recent testimony was a continuation of his initial testimony from November 2020, and a request by the Commission to provide additional information. It was during that testimony on the 25th of May 2021 that Steven Powell provided further clarity on wrong doings that occurred between 2014 and 2019.

The corruption modus operandi

This modus operandi as evidenced by the ENSafrica Forensic investigation has shown that often contracts were bid for and concluded below the value of the cost of delivery of the contract in order to secure the work. It is believed that the intention was for the perpetrators to open a contract account in EOH finance to submit invoices, in order to siphon off money. This was done, in many instances, before any payments had been received for the contract. More frequently than not, the payments made by EOH to sub-contractors for work not done were related to parties who were not even part of the tender process. ENSafrica’s view is that the perpetrators belief was that in the future they could get change orders signed off (work around the procurement requirements) and increase the contract amount to a reasonable level.

This contracting practise has cost EOH significantly as it has concluded the delivery of services under these problematic contract. Furthermore, almost R900m has been stolen from EOH through the siphoning process. The new EOH board and management faced enormous challenges and have had to work extra hard to repay R2bn of the R4bn legacy debt that was racked up due to poor management and looting. As previously reported, EOH has made significant progress and reported its first positive operating profit for the first half the 2021 financial year since the new Board and management took over. In addition, the process to create a permanent capital structure for EOH is well advanced and should be completed in the next 12 months. As has been disclosed extensively over the past two years, the new EOH management team has proactively engaged and co-operated with all authorities including the Hawks, Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), National Treasury, SARS and other law enforcement authorities. Furthermore, civil and criminal proceedings by EOH against implicated parties are underway to recover funds from parties who have been unlawfully enriched at the expense of EOH.

Department of Home Affairs ABIS (DHA) agreement awarded in 2015

Following the presentation to parliament on the 24 May 2021 of the Nexia SAB&T report findings into the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) AGSA Forensic Investigation regarding the appointment of EOH Mthombo (Pty) Ltd for the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), EOH wishes to provide clarity on this issue:

Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO said, “The Department of Home Affairs ABIS (DHA) agreement awarded in 2015, was to migrate from the Home Affairs National Information System (HANIS) to an automated biometric information system (ABIS). This was a critical project to consolidate citizens’ data and enable further digtisation of the Department of Home Affairs processes. This contract formed part of the initial problematic legacy contracts as identified in the ENSafrica forensic investigation initiated by the EOH Board in February 2019. At the time of discovery, the new EOH management team reported its concerns regarding the awarding of the contract to the Hawks and the FIC.

As acknowledged in the Nexia SAB&T forensic report, EOH fully cooperated with the investigation on information available to the Group at the time, and importantly EOH further initiated action to recover losses caused by the perpetrators of wrongdoing.

Background to the contract

The total contract value was c.R410 million. The contract bid was placed at R200m below the other competitors in order to secure the contract, allegedly based on leaked inside information. EOH has only received c.R282 million incl. VAT in payment for services rendered. To date, EOH has successfully delivered 51 of the 60 contracted milestones for phase 1 of the Project, which have been signed off and accepted by the DHA. EOH has further procured and built two data centres as contracted. In addition all contracted interfaces have been built and unit testing has been completed.

The remaining milestones in phase 2 were ceded to a the sub-contractor by EOH on 1 April 2021 following a proposal submitted by EOH to the DHA in March 2020. This has the required legislated approvals. As part of EOH’s commitment to deal with the past appropriately, EOH ensured the cession remains within the original budgeted expense and that the hand over is managed appropriately. This has been at EOH’s own cost. The project was unfortunately delayed for a number of reasons and in order to resolve the disputed issues, this now forms part of an ongoing arbitration process.

Accountability remains paramount

Said Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO, “The EOH independent forensic investigation itself is behind the group, and we have reported suspected fraud and corruption to the authorities and instituted legal proceedings where appropriate. We have also duly engaged the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that anyone found guilty of wrongdoing will ultimately be held accountable for their actions.

We remain encouraged by the ongoing support and feedback we have received from all our stakeholders including our clients, our suppliers and our investors. I am especially appreciative of our c.6200 hardworking and honest people who were not part of these legacy issues and who have remained committed to staying the course and building the EOH of the future.”

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Integrated, customisable workforce management for today’s challenges

NEXTEC Security and Building Technologies (SBT) has been in operation for over 25 years, and although the name of the company may be new, NEXTEC SBT is still an EOH company. The NEXTEC Security and Building Technologies division focuses on providing integrated solutions to current challenges businesses face.

SBT provides end-to-end solutions for electronic security, CCTV, fire detection/suppression, audio visual, building management systems, Wi-Fi and LAN, structured cabling, and data centre/server rooms, as well as solutions for the Workforce Management vertical. The Workforce Management Division offers solutions integrating time and attendance (T&A), access control as well as health and safety solutions. It currently services over 600 clients, has a solid base across South Africa where it supplies its workforce management solutions as well as the Synerion product range.

Linda Glieman, business unit manager for Solutions at SBT, says the company is constantly innovating and developing new solutions to keep up with the changing workforce and markets. A significant part of its development is focused on integration with many of the access control, HR, and related technologies in the market, allowing it to provide a seamless solution to clients without limiting which products they can use. As an example, the company has integrated its solutions with biometric and traditional access solutions from companies like IDEMIA, Suprema, Impro, Gallagher, Hikvision, and others.

The SBT solution includes offering on-site, cloud, or hybrid workforce management solutions according to customers’ requirements. In addition, given the disruption caused by COVID-19, the company is geared to support mobile workforce management to include remote workers with its Synerion Mobile solution

Working remotely or in the office

Glieman says the mobility solutions it has available range from traditional T&A through to expensing and HR functionality to ensure that no management information is lacking just because people are not in the office. This includes collecting GPS location data, ensuring productivity is well managed.

The cloud service makes the entire solution simpler for the customer as SBT handles all the infrastructure challenges, backups, and any updates are immediately available. Maintenance is also simplified as technicians’ travel time to and from clients is dramatically reduced. All additional infrastructure services, on-site or in the cloud, including product development, are available from SBT, ensuring a cohesive integrated approach to solving clients’ needs.

Delivering a full, customised solution

With this approach, SBT can provide complex workforce management solutions with field and maintenance services integrated with electronic security, safety, and network technology equipment. A dedicated service operation centre manages contracts and service delivery according to client specifications and priority levels.

Of course, Glieman adds that many clients want to keep their solutions on premises, and SBT caters for this by allowing full on-site control and management. Its own developed S-QUBE and BES solutions are functionally rich and can be customised to meet the client's specific requirements. SBT has a dedicated development team that is backed by the extensive EOH iOCO Software Development Division.

Synerion is an international workforce management solution aimed at large enterprises, also offering a range of functions for corporate workforce management requirements, including cloud services. SBT offers this product along with all the services and backup support required.

Customisation services are available to each client, no matter which product they use, as well as bespoke development, to ensure the software and services integrate seamlessly into their environment.

“From time and attendance to occupancy-based scheduling features, absence management, operational health and safety, and payroll and HR integration, our comprehensive and efficient workforce management software platforms help optimise resources and productivity,” notes Glieman. “The integrated solutions we create are smart, resilient, and robust enough to operate in corporate offices as well as at mining and industrial operations. We connect people and buildings to data, information, processes, places, resources and each other.”

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