Failure to pay trainees blamed on co-ordinator’s busy schedule

2016-06-28 10:28

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Pietermaritzburg - Umgungundlovu District Municipality’s Youth Programmes Co-ordinator has apparently got his hands so full with duties that trainees have gone six months without being paid.

Explaining the cause behind delays of the unpaid stipends to 62 trainees, municipal spokesperson Mbali Mwandla said Bheki Mzimela, who is responsible for co-ordinating all youth related programmes and activities in the district, has been involved in numerous activities.

“Currently we are hosting a youth summit next week [this week], which he co-ordinates. He is also attending a youth parliament in Durban co-ordinated by Provincial Legislature.

“We are aware of the teething challenges of the new programme. The municipality with its stakeholders is addressing the challenges, and advising all affected parties.

“Unfortunately the uMgungundlovu District Municipality is geographically wide with a great number of youth, and [Mr] Mzimela has a very demanding position which he is highly involved and committed too.

“His schedule to co-ordinate all these programmes may have been misinterpreted,” said Mwandla.

She added that the trainees were consulted with regard to the challenges and that people associated with the programme, “especially the Local Government Seta, are working around the clock to ensure all processes are finalised as soon as possible”.

The trainees are part of an Umgungundlovu District Municipality programme encompassing 200 learners on end-user computing funded by the Local Government Seta.

The training was awarded to Osolwazi Consulting and Development last year and started in September.

Mwandla criticised the allegation that the programme was awarded to Osolwazi as a hand-out due to the relationship of the founder Thembinkosi Mzimela and the municipal youth programme co-ordinator, Bheki Mzimela.

“Unfortunately those are false allegations that we are not aware of. There are numerous government and private companies that have partnered with this developmental initiative, for example Albany, various provincial departments and municipalities within the uMgungundlovu District Municipality,” said Mwandla.

Thembinkosi Mzimela denied the links between himself and Bheki Mzimela, saying they were not related and said the programme was met with challenges including protests at the venue it initially used in Dambuza because of financial difficulties.

“We were only paid 30% by the municipality to start the programme, which ran in seven sites within the district.

“Osolwazi paid a stipend to all learners until January 2016, and from February there was strike action at the venue where we housed 62 trainees.

“Trainees were asked not to attend … after we learnt that they were not learning but still expected to be paid a stipend.

“In the process, we experienced financial difficulties and told the trainees that funds were finished, however Osolwazi will try to fund the project from other sources of income which we get from other businesses,” said Thembinkosi.

LG Seta provincial manager Zipho Mazibuko said they were planning to have a meeting with the officials of the entity to pave a way forward.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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