Some Gauteng Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students cannot attend their practical training course due to their monthly stipends, still not paid for nearly three months.
The students are worried about not completing their workplace training, a requirement to receive their qualifications. The internship are run by the Gauteng City Region Academy.
Lucky Bokaba from Mamelodi in Tshwane walks more than 7 kilometres from his home to Mamelodi Day hospital and back every weekday to attend his internship programme.
For almost three months he has not received his monthly R5 000 stipend from the Gauteng City Region Academy. He says cannot afford transport to work or food as he relies on his mother for help while his father is unemployed.
Bokaba wants to complete this internship and get his Diploma in Public Management.
“My aim is to fill-up my log book so that I can graduate and fulfil my dreams to please my parents. I am almost 35-years-old, and I am asking myself that as they are delaying when will I graduate. When will I get work experience so I can graduate,” Bokaba says.
He is not the only one.
Addressing youth educational needs through TVET colleges:
Studying a three-year Management Assistant course at the Ekurhuleni TVET college east of Johannesburg, a student who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation says, “We started on the 3rd of April. So, we worked from April 2023 we did not get paid. Then we worked May and again we never got paid. They kept postponing saying we were going to get our monies on the 10th, but nothing happened…”
“I have not been to work for days because I do not have money. I can’t even do my own things and there are people that I take care of at home,” added the student.
Spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education, Steve Mabona says the delays was due to them capturing and verifying the student’s vendor numbers.
Mabona says the payments have been processed.
“We have now since resolved this matter. We have now paid all of them. And we will then digitise this process. We felt that this manual capturing is a problem. So, we will digitise in the future, use digital processes so that we do not experience the same problems in the near future,” says Mabona.
While Mabona could not confirm to SABC News the number of affected students, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng says more than 7 000 young people are registered as interns under the GCRA programme.
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC, Khume Ramulifho says he tabled the questions in the Legislature, seeking answers.
Ramulifho says, “It is disappointing that GDE has been silent on the issue, yet they are aware of the plight of these learners. The department cannot expect young people to attend their programs on empty stomachs and without much-needed necessities. The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, urgently intervene to speed up the stipend payment issue and ensure that it never happens again.”
While the country is celebrating youth month some Gauteng TVET college students are stressed out about the unpaid stipends.
TVET colleges can be vehicles to employability