“Tonight I’m challenging chief executive officers to do more in tackling the large-scale youth unemployment in our country.”
These were the words of the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, at the second instalment of the Sun International CEO SleepOut event on 28 July.
Makhura joined business leaders, students and pupils in braving extremely cold weather conditions and spending the night on Nelson Mandela Bridge to raise funds for education.
He stressed the importance of dealing with youth unemployment and homelessness, explaining that it was important for companies to invest in young people. “Tonight is the perfect night to highlight the plight of youth unemployment and to urge businesses to invest in the youth and give them opportunities.”
Adding to this was Jaco Koekemoer, managing director of Caxton Local Media, who spoke passionately about the company’s focus on tackling unemployment and homelessness.
This, Koekemoer explained, was through supporting publications such as Homeless Talk, which Caxton prints monthly, and the coffee book table, Empathy. “Of course, we’ve also done this through participating in the SleepOut and it’s exciting to see corporates joining hands to make a difference in the lives of others,”
Echoing his sentiments was Tim Holden, group managing director of Caxton Printers and Publishers, who reiterated the importance of supporting such causes, especially since the company had close links to the community. “As a local media company focused on community news, it’s important to take part in an initiative which affects our local communities where homeless people are present too.”
Holden and Koekemoer also touched on the Schools SleepOut, which took place simultaneously at various schools, highlighting that it was a way to get young people to understand the plight of the homeless.
The two further urged residents to go out and support the cause by either purchasing the Empathy book or Homeless Talk. “We really appreciate the support from those who have purchased either one of the publications and we urge more people to get their copy and play their part,” Holden said.
The CEO SleepOut saw business leaders, together with a colleague or pupil of their choice, spend the night under the stars to raise funds for education.
At the time of going to print, R31 million had been raised for the cause, with the target being R40 million, and this would go to organisations focused on education including the Asha Trust, The Columba Leadership and the Steve Biko Foundation.
For the final tally, visit the Northeastern Tribune Facebook page.