National Youth Service Fails Unemployed Gauteng Youth

Paul Willemburg MPL

Spokesperson on Infrastructure Development

The implementation of the National Youth Service (NYS) in Gauteng has failed the young people of the province, with the majority of participants surveyed indicating their expectations were not met and they would not recommend the programme to anyone.

Allegations also abound that officials from the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) solicited bribes from NYS participants asking learners to share their stipends with them. Some learners were also allegedly asked to pay excess money into personal bank accounts of DID officials.

These findings are included in the 1st Focused Intervention Study (FIS) of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Infrastructure Development Portfolio for 2012 / 13 on the Implementation of the National Youth Service (NYS) Programme in Gauteng.

Other significant problems with the NYS in Gauteng include the fact that:

* It is clear that very few to none of the learners received any accredited or proper theoretical training. Almost all respondents indicated that they received no theoretical training;

* A quarter of respondents indicated they were never assigned a mentor;

* Some learners were not assigned any tasks or responsibilities;

* Life skills training offered by the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) were regarded as an insult and useless because it was considered stuff they learnt in grade seven;

* Many, if not all participants, indicated that they were not given an opportunity to go through their contracts and were just told to sign. They did not know what was contained in the contract and were not given a copy;

* Participants were placed in an uncoordinated manner and not according to their lines of interest;

* The majority of learners stated that they received their payments late or that they still have payments due to them. Several only received first the first payment 3 months into the programme, others as late as 9 months.

* Some learners were allegedly overpaid, getting R24 000 in stipends instead of R1 100. Some learners confirmed overpayment during the workshop.

* One learner indicated that she received payments for 8 months without being placed, and others said they knew of some people who exited the NYS long ago but were still getting paid by DID.

The NYS was launched to engage young people in service activities and provide opportunities for learning to develop skills knowledge and abilities of the youth and improve their employability.

I will submit formal written questions to Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu regarding the failures of the NYS and the steps she will be taking to identify, discipline, and where appropriate dismiss, officials guilty of soliciting bribes and financial misconduct.

Instead of ensuring greater access to jobs through skills development and work experience for Gauteng youth, corruption, ineffective implementation and improper management of the NYS is a stumbling block to youth employment.

The DA will continue to demand accountability for the implementation of the NYS in Gauteng which, up to know, has dismally failed the youth of the province. At this stage it maintains the insider-outsider divide in the Gauteng economy keeping youth out of jobs.

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