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Groen Sebenza Jobs Fund partnership project

Introduction and background


The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, on 08 June 2013 launched the groundbreaking R300 million Groen Sebenza project. The launch formed part of Environment Month celebrations at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

In 2011, SANBI submitted an application to the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA) Jobs Fund titled “Catalysing access to Employment and Job Creation in Ecosystem Management”. The aim of the proposal was to grow a pool of young biodiversity professionals with the skills, confidence and competence to secure full time jobs, enjoy meaningful careers and catalyse further job creation in the biodiversity sector.

The Groen Sebenza Project, which is a combination of Afrikaans and isiZulu, translating into “Green Work” in English, is a Jobs Fund initiative that promotes major skills development and job creation in the biodiversity sector for 800 unemployed graduates and matriculates. The intake consists of 500 graduates and 300 matriculates.

Aims and objectives of the project


This project intends to equip the graduates and matriculates with the skills and experience needed to access jobs in the biodiversity sector.  Groen Sebenza is not simply providing job opportunities and skills to 800 individuals. It is uplifting and improving, literally thousands of lives, through the power that lies within unlocking the benefits of the Green Economy. This project is set to have a profound, positive impact on the lives of the families and communities, from which these youngsters originate.

Many of the young people benefitting from this programme, are the sole bread-winners of their extended families. Some are single parents, others have lost their parents or guardians, while others still, have beat the odds stacked against them in their communities, by pooling together what resources they had, to ensure they reached either matric or graduation from a tertiary institution.

Training opportunities


Groen Sebenza involves the placement of 800 unemployed youth in skilled jobs across public, private and non-governmental institutions in the local biodiversity sector for a period of two and a half years. The project focuses on training, mentoring and workplace-based learning with the objective of building a pool of young and capable professionals for South Africa’s biodiversity sector, which aims to boost job creation in the green economy.

The unemployed youth will participate in the "incubator" scheme, an extended and coordinated skills development scheme across multiple agencies. While in the incubator, they will receive mentoring, training, a stipend and access to formal qualifications. The incumbents will be in the scheme for two and a half years and are encouraged to network with one another. By 02 May 2013, 463 of the incumbents had commenced in this project while the remaining incumbents were appointed during the month of June 2013.

The R300 million project is sponsored by the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s Jobs Fund. It is spearheaded by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and is a first in the local biodiversity industry.

As part of Groen Sebenza, DEA is set to implement a training programme through the New Venture Creation Learnership for 50 of the unemployed graduates and learners. This focuses on incumbents who are interested in establishing or have established small or micro environmental enterprises or want to be involved in environmental enterprise expansion.



Minister Bomo Edna Molewa tables Environmental Affairs 2013/14 Budget Vote

Last year we undertook a concerted effort to build human capital in the biodiversity sector. Working with SANBI, through our programme Groen Sebenza, we have partnered with 33 organisations to create a cadre of 800 confident and competent people to work at all levels of government and in the private sector.


Minister Edna Molewa's speech at the launch of the Groen Sebenza Jobs Funs Partenrship project

Today we have all come to witness the launch of the Groen Sebenza Jobs Fund Partnership Project, spearheaded by the Department of Environmental Affairs’ public entity, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). This is a groundbreaking partnership with 33 environmental- and biodiversity-focused organisations, from all spheres of government, business and the NGO sector.


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