Nzimande’s KwaDambuza Youth Centre in limbo

2016-03-15 12:15
Students from the KwaDambuza Youth Centre camped outside the Department of Social Development offices.

Students from the KwaDambuza Youth Centre camped outside the Department of Social Development offices. (Sabelo Nsele, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The skills development programme at the KwaDambuza Youth Centre founded by Blade Nzimande will collapse soon, students at the centre have warned.

At the launch of the programme in November last year, Nzimande said the Services Seta had committed R24 million to the programme.

However, the students have said their facilitators have not come to give classes since mid-February because they had not been paid their salaries since November.

“All we do now is learn life skills. Our facilitators are never around,” said one of the students, who did not want to be named.

The students are meant to go for workplace experience next month, but they said they doubt it will happen.

“With this chaos going on, we are not sure if we will even get our certificates.”

There is also a pay dispute between the students and the provincial Department of Social Development.

The students said the department had not paid their stipends since November.

“Our centre manager took funds from the centre and paid our stipends in November and December. He was hoping the department would pay sooner.

“We are still waiting for our January and February stipends,” added another student.

Department of Higher Education and Training spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana referred all the queries to Social Development, saying “the payment of the stipend is between the department and the Seta”.

The department’s spokesperson Ncumisa Ndelu said “January and February stipends were delayed due to unforeseen administrative hiccups between the Services Seta and the department”.

“The stipends will all be paid in the next two weeks backdated to January 2016. From March, stipends will be paid on a monthly basis.

“Students were informed of these developments in a meeting called by the department,” she said.

The students camped outside the department’s offices yesterday, demanding payment of their stipends.

When the programme was launched last year, over 400 students from Pietermaritzburg were enrolled.

However, yesterday the students said the majority of them had dropped out due to the payment of stipends being delayed.

One of the students, Thandeka Khambule, said she had given up her paying job to become part of the programme.

“I am also a bread winner at home. But things are difficult now because I have to budget for transport costs and some of us have to pay rent,” she said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  youth  |  skills development

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