Radebe launches local skills schools

2016-07-01 10:15
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe addresses the youth at the launch of the Collins Chabane YouthBuild School in KwaDambuza Community Hall.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe addresses the youth at the launch of the Collins Chabane YouthBuild School in KwaDambuza Community Hall. (Thabang Mathebula )

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Pietermaritzburg - After a tumultuous start to the skills development programme at the KwaDambuza Youth Centre, another skills project has been launched a stone’s throw away from it.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe launched the Collins Chabane YouthBuild School in the KwaDambuza Community Hall yesterday.

The school, named after the late cabinet minister from whom Radebe took over in 2014, will benefit 50 young people who live in the Greater Edendale area.

The KwaDambuza Youth Centre had initially enrolled over 600 young people from Pietermaritzburg, many of whom had received learnerships in the programme that was launched by Blade Nzimande in November last year. But many later dropped out due to the non-payment of stipends they were promised.

This was despite the Services Seta pumping R24 million into the programme.

The programme had been on the brink of collapse earlier this year as service providers and facilitators downed tools over non-payments.

The students had also staged many protests demanding the payment of their stipends.

However, yesterday Social Development Department spokesperson Vukani Mbhele told The Witness everything was back to normal at the centre.

The department co-runs the centre.

Radebe told those selected for the YouthBuild School to “grab the chance with both hands”.

“I would like to urge all young people to seize the opportunities of democracy to develop themselves. We have noted an increase in the usage of drugs such as nyaope or Whoonga, which is often linked to other criminal activities including robbery and murder.

“This Collins Chabane YouthBuild School will help take the youth from the street and enlist them in productive activities. Many people fought for our democracy and our freedom was not free,” he said.

Amid growing violent protests ahead of the local government elections, Radebe pleaded with those attending not to burn down public property when protesting.

“Burning down schools is just criminal. No matter how genuine your concerns are, but will burning down a school help you?”

One of the beneficiaries, Sindiswa Mtambo, said the number of people who have been selected to participate in the programme was “too small” compared to the number of people who had applied.

“Nonetheless we will make a difference. We will become role models. We will create our own movement,” she said.

Ward councillor Mtuza Mkhize took the opportunity to tell Radebe about the plight of people of KwaDambuza.

“Minister, sometimes I can be a very insistent councillor, but I am not that bad. My problem is there are still too many mud houses in this area.

“I would like the Department of Land Affairs to intervene as far as acquiring land is concerned. The Department of Human Settlement must intervene as well,” he said.

Mkhize will be standing for his fourth term as the ANC councillor in the ward.

He said he had not wanted to contest this term but was forced by the community to stand.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  youth  |  jeff radebe

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