Political interference denies 894 young people much needed training opportunities

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Education:

Hundreds of young people have been left clinging onto uncertain futures after the Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust (MRTT) only managed to register 106 learners out of a targeted 1000.

This was stated in MRTT’s first quarterly report for the current financial year, where the parastatal cites delays in the finalisation of its learner list as one on the reasons for its failure to meet this target.

During last month’s session on oral questions to MECs, Education MEC Reginah Mhaule, stated that MRTT relied on Ward councillors to identify potential students. This cannot be the case as the doors of learning should be opened to everyone, regardless of their political affiliation.

(Click here to view report)

The Constitution states that everyone has the right to further education, which the state through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible. Allowing Ward councillors to hold the monopoly on who is trained through MRTT flies in the face of this clause as evidently, 894 learners have been denied access to further education.

The DA calls on the board of MRTT to establish an open opportunity policy that allows any student who needs training, regardless of political affiliation, to be trained and granted an opportunity to develop skills that will see them becoming productive members of Mpumalanga’s work force.

Artisans are desperately needed for the province’s infrastructure development and with MRTT’s budget for the current financial year being increased by 142.5% due to the introduction of more programmes, there is no excuse not to get Mpumalanga’s youth trained.

MRTT has been mandated to provide training and skills development for unskilled youth and not be a political pawn. As such, the DA urges students who want to be trained as artisans to bypass the political gatekeeping and make direct contact with MRTT in order to access training opportunities.

The DA will continue to engage MEC Mhaule, to ensure that Mpumalanga’s youth have opportunities to further their education, to find jobs and to be in a position to create a better life for themselves and their families while building the province’s economy.