One of the largest economic challenges in South Africa is the extensive unemployment we suffer, which leaves large portions of our country – a staggering 46,6% in quarter 3 of year 2021 – excluded from the benefits of income. A look at global studies on unemployment shows a detrimental effect on economic growth and development as well as negative effects on health and wellness of those affected. This high unemployment rate must be countered if we are to make progress in society and as a country.
One of the solutions is for companies to embrace modern technologies and create market opportunities that spread economic value across wider sections of South Africa’s population. This is not something we can solely designate to government programs, it requires genuine innovation, intensified implementation, and uptake, across all sectors of business, from inspired and motivated thinkers. Only then will the reduction of unemployment become a reality to our nation.
Heeding the Call
Kabelo Mocwane, the founder of Kurumeng, could not accept the high unemployment rate and the effects of this on our country and our people. He was driven to ask what he, and his company, Kurumeng, could do to fight unemployment in an immediate and visibly effective way. His vision was for Kurumeng to champion real action that had an impact on society.
Where to start?
Kabelo Mocwane believes that you start with what you know and therefore he analyzed the industry his company operated in. This analysis revealed that most government departments in South Africa did not have the handymen needed to perform minor repairs on key infrastructure such as government buildings and other assets. This lack of minor repair and maintenance could easily lead to rapid deterioration and depreciation of the infrastructures with more extensive damage compounding over time.
In government departments, the lengthy bureaucratic process is often prohibitive to productivity. When maintenance tasks are approved, the lengthy procurement process for service providers creates obstacles that equate to minor repairs requiring the same extensive amount of time to procure as large construction projects. To contrast this, a scenario underpinned by a swift procurement process in government settings is classified as an ‘Emergency’, which as the name suggests, means:
…a situation where immediate action is necessary to avoid an urgent, unforeseen, and dangerous situation that, left unattended, may lead to death, injury or disease; damage to property, infrastructure or the environment; significant economic loss; or disruption of the life of a community.
Many departments intentionally allocate ‘normal’ maintenance activities as ’emergency’ requirements to bypass lengthy procurement procedures and expedite repairs – this creates unsustainable work processes that lead to irregular expenditure and adverse audit findings. Alternative approaches are vital to ensure the entire workflow is more efficient and viable to the scale of the project.
How Does 4IR Play a Role?
The fourth industrial revolution, or 4IR, is the technological revolution that has the potential to accelerate procurement processes while still ensuring necessary compliance with acts such as the PFMA, MFMA, and the relevant Treasury prescripts. More importantly, 4IR has the capacity to create a pivotal change in job creation through its ability to generate opportunities for unemployed skilled individuals and small businesses across a wide range of industries.
A precise example of the use of 4IR technologies to create change is an on-demand application such as Maintercept Mobile App, which focuses on the swift procurement of services for minor repair works. The Maintercept platform connects projects (maintenance jobs) with skilled individuals who are in the near vicinity. As a result, a delegated procurement officer can source the right personnel in a matter of minutes and the maintenance job can be attended to timeously, and without extensive bureaucratic processes. In addition, this platform provides the opportunity to connect unemployed skilled individuals with opportunities at small businesses that would normally be inaccessible to them.
Whenever we find a double-sided opportunity like this, we need to jump on it. Innovations like this help to solve a key problem for a paying customer, while also creating opportunities for underserved economic players to benefit from. With the right attention, resources, and support, these innovations can become economic snowballs that turn the tide on what is possible for unemployed individuals and the businesses that support this change.
How Does Kurumeng Leverage This?
To leverage this new technology, Kurumeng has partnered with Maintercept to swiftly dispatch vetted Technical Service Personnel (TSPs) on the App to clients of all kinds who require the performance of minor repairs. We believe we can add significant value to these interactions, and we’re excited about the potential this partnership has for job creation!
Supply chain departments can now collaborate with Kurumeng to source TSPs in a matter of minutes so that maintenance jobs can be executed as quickly as possible. No more filling out forms, tender briefings, waiting for responses, and lengthy rounds of tender evaluation & adjudication processes. The convenience and logistical simplicity this innovation provides allows organizations to act swiftly and with greater agility.
For government departments and larger corporations, Kurumeng acts as the main point of contact for the dispatch of TSPs and final payment when the job is completed satisfactorily, thus effectively managing the end-to-end process. Kurumeng then invoices the client at the end of the month and collects for all completed work. It is that simple.
This innovative business approach is a significant opportunity to initiate job creation by opening doors for unemployed individuals and struggling small businesses, providing them with the ability to prove themselves in the marketplace.
Our initiative has the potential to make a decisive impact on South Africa’s overall economic activity and redirect the trajectory of our country. We intend for this to be the first of many initiatives in our aim to serve a social mission much larger than ourselves or our company – we aim to serve the needs of people and our country, one innovative step at a time.
If you or your company have general maintenance needs and you’d like Kurumeng to help coordinate and dispatch vetted and skilled individuals, be sure to get in touch today. We’d love to see how we can help!
Let’s innovate together towards a better South Africa!