Plato saves NY youth centre

2016-03-03 06:00
 Community safety MEC Dan Plato  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Community safety MEC Dan Plato PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Sleepless nights and uncertainty about the future will be a thing of the past the creative collective called Nyanga Yethu; their much beloved initiative will not be closing down.

The youth of Nyanga and surrounding areas can now sleep easy after the MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato addressed their concerns regarding the youth initiative.

Nyanga Yethu is a youth development project that offers a space for young people to perform music, art and theatre. They also run youth centred crime prevention projects to also fight the scourge of gangsterism. It is run from the Zolani Centre in Nyanga East.

There have been talks of the programme being cancelled after Safety Lab-the organisation that ran the project-broke off all relations with Nyanga Yethu.

Nyanga Yethu was left in the lurch as a result, and its affairs were run by an ad hoc committee consisting of local youths until the questions around its closure were cleared.

On Friday, Plato assured the youngsters by telling them to “cast their worries aside as the initiative will continue.

“I was approached by the young people that run this initiative. They came to my office and they told me that they were worried that the programme would be shut down.

I was surprised by this as I was very much aware of this project and the work it does in this community,” said Plato.

Plato said that he engaged with the concerned group and reassured them that closure was not an option.

“I want to also reassure you today that Nyanga Yethu will not be shutting down. In fact we need an even bigger space as this is clearly two small for this crowd. We are working on this project branching out to Browns Farm so there is a future for Nyanga Yethu,” he said to cheers from the youth.

He also told them to use facilities like Nyanga Yethu to improve their lot. Plato added that his department was looking for young people who wanted to study at FET colleges.

“We have a very good relationship with all the FET collages in the province and last year we enrolled about 300 learners.”

Chairman of the committee, Zukile Ntentema, said that he was very happy that government was finally putting trust in locals to run such programs.

“Very often it is outsiders who are tasked by the government to run such programmes in our townships. They do not have faith in locals especially young people. I believe that this is one of the reasons that youths turn to crime,” he said.

It is believed that more than a thousand young people take part in the programmes between Thursday and Friday.

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