School drop-outs trained as bricklayers

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With also a high number of unemployment amongst the youth, Ntulo feared that her son would soon join gangster groups or smoke drugs and abuse alcohol.

“When my child quit school, my hopes were dashed, I knew that my dreams of seeing him building his future were washed away. I always prayed to God to help my son and protect him from all evil spirits” said Ntulo.

Luthando Ntulo is one of the local beneficiaries who benefited from Department of Agriculture office building project which is constructed at Komani Psychiatric Hospital in Queenstown.

He is from Zone 6, at Zibeleni. Before he got the construction job, Luthando used to get odd jobs from around Zibeleni which most were paying him fifty rand. He got his break when the department was looking for twenty-four people to be hired as labourers in the building project.
Ntombothando Nodwele, a Community Liaison Officer (CLO), explained how Luthando was selected to join the construction team.
“I am a Ward Committee member from Zibeleni. When the department wanted people to assist in this project; we sat and looked for people who are really suffering. We then decided to hire mostly young people because they are the majority in our village”

“We wanted to take them away from the drugs and alcohol abuse. Young people in our villages are deeply involved in drugs and alcohol abuse because they do not have anything to do” the CLO said.

She further explained that the department has not only hired these young people but also given them skills.

“The department trained fourteen young people; ten as bricklayers which Luthundo is one of them. Another two as painters and the other two as plumbers. As you can see for yourself, they are taking part in plumbing of this building” she said.

Ntulo excitedly expressed how grateful he is to the department for giving him a life time skill which will remain with him forever.

“I am so grateful to the department for the skill it has given me. I will never again sit next to my shack with nothing to do. I will use my newly acquired skill to benefit myself and my family” said Luthando.

He also explained the disbelief he had when he was selected to be trained as a bricklayer.

“I could not believe my ears when I was told that I will be sent to training so that I could obtain a skill and a certificate. I am now waiting to receive my certificate from the company that was training us” he said.

The regional Expanded Public Works Programme’s Manager, Simon Makhambi, clarified that it was important for the department not only to give jobs to these young people but also to give them skills so that they can be self-reliant.

“As the department it is our responsibility to empower young people of our country. I am very happy to see fourteen young people given skills that will remain with them forever. It is better to give them a skill than giving them money” Makhambi said.

By Sibusiso Kewu and Luvo Sandlana