Cape Town - Thousands of unemployed people queued outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday for the labour department's Jobs Fair.
Most people had taken a taxi or a few to be at the centre early, waiting from 5:00 in the hope of securing some form of employment.
People of all races and ages were in attendance, although the young far outnumbered the old.
A few individuals were dressed in their "Sunday best". The majority dressed casually and comfortably, gripping their qualifications tightly as they entered.
An advert was placed in the newspaper by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, who invited job seekers to attend the fair for free and meet prospective employers and organisations or government departments that could assist with employment or learning.
Oliphant addressed the crowd on Friday morning and explained the department's initiatives, offering encouragement and hope for the weary.
She said that in the last financial year, department investments in the Industrial Development Corporation had resulted in over 17 000 jobs.
Through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), R37.8bn had been invested in government bonds and parastatals, for infrastructure improvement and job creation.
The department, through the UIF, had further committed between R200m and R500m to invest in agricultural projects.
She said the UIF had contributed R1.2bn to fund the "Training Lay-off Scheme".
"The scheme is aimed to assist distressed companies and at workers who may be at risk of retrenchment."
Attendants were given a labour department form to fill out, to register their details on the Employment Services of SA database.
The majority of stalls at the fair housed government departments, Further Education and Training colleges and Sector Education and Training Authorities.
The UIF and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration were also in attendance.