ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, MR DES VAN ROOYEN, at the
VUSELELA TVET COLLEGE HANDOVER,
27 June 2017,
Matlosana Local Municipality
Programme Director, Mr Motoko,
MEC Local Government and Human Settlements, Ms Galaletsang Gaolaolwe,
Executive Mayor of the Matlosana Municipality, Councillor Maetu Kgaile,
Acting CEO of MISA, Nthandazo Vimba,
School principal, Mr Smith,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is wonderful to join you in Youth Month as we celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Soweto Uprising.
This month has seen us attend a number of youth-related events.
Just last week we hosted the Local Government Youth Development conference.
The conference witnessed the launch of the Local Government Youth Development Forum.
The Forum serves as a platform for youth at local government level and wants to ensure that the youth agenda is raised in all municipalities.
I urge the Matlosana Municipality to play an active role in the Local Government Youth Development Forum to ensure that the needs of the youth in this municipality are catered for.
The Department of Cooperative Governance has a number of initiatives that are also aimed at meeting the aspirations of the youth.
The Community Work Programme (CWP) provides meaningful work to a large proportion of youth in a variety of areas ranging from early childhood development to providing communal food gardens.
The CWP provided 243 162 work opportunities at the end of March 2017, with roughly 10 percent of these participants also receiving training in various areas.
Young men and women,
I am sure not many people have heard of MISA, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent.
It has carried on its work quietly, since its inception in 2013.
MISA has been discharged with improving the technical capacity of municipalities, with regard to infrastructure planning, delivery, operations and maintenance.
As part of discharging this duty MISA trained 372 apprentices towards qualifying as artisans in various trades critical for municipal infrastructure delivery and management.
MISA has a number of programmes geared for the youth.
These include the MISA Technical Bursary Scheme, the Young Graduate Programme, the Experiential Learnership Programme, and the Apprenticeship Programme.
The Bursary Scheme gives financial support to needy students at tertiary institutions, who are studying towards technical professions.
The Young Graduate Programme provides qualified candidates with workplace exposure, coaching and mentoring towards registration as professionals.
The experiential learners are given workplace exposure in order to complete their studies and acquire experience for entry into the job market.
The Apprenticeship Programme provides learners with theoretical training, hands-on experience, and trade testing towards them qualifying as artisans.
We believe these measures go a long way towards ensuring that the needs of our disadvantaged youth are catered for.
Government has declared the period between 2014 and 2024 as the “Decade of the Artisan,” with a focus on developing the 21st Century Artisan.
The national target is to improve the annual artisan production rate from the 2013 baseline of 13 000 artisans to a target of 30 000 artisans per annum by 2030.
Government’s strategic outcome is to create a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
The decade of the Artisan was launched in 2014, under the slogan “It’s Cool to be a 21st Century Artisan”.
The Apprenticeship Programme is one such Artisan Development Programme that we believe will contribute to meeting these targets.
Since its establishment, MISA has committed to being a role player in the national artisan development campaign.
This meant championing the promotion of artisanship in local government for a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path and radical economic transformation.
MISA started the 2016/17 financial year with 372 apprentices and now has 302 left in the programme.
Congratulations to those that completed their trade tests and qualified as artisans in the previous financial year.
We salute you as leaders who are paving the way for others to follow.
There is consensus that the national trade test pass rate is low and that there is a need, without lowering standards and the quality of the artisanship programme, to robustly implement the Trade Test and Pass Rate and Quality Improvement Strategy of government.
The current trade test pass rate is at 45%, and simply unacceptable.
The country is experiencing a very low return on investment with regard to the artisan development programme.
Government invests billions of rands into this programme.
The National Treasury Expenditure and Performance Report of 2014 found that the average cost of training an artisan is R400 000.
This confirms that the artisan development programme is very expensive.
The objective of the Apprentice Programme is to increase the number of skilled artisans in municipalities, with the view to strengthening municipal technical capabilities to perform their mandates.
This objective adds value to government’s Outcome 5, which aspires to produce a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
Current Interventions and Challenges
The national perspective is to advocate for artisan development with the view to injecting the necessary vocational skills into the economy and modernising artisanal trades.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is implementing a programme aimed at rejuvenating artisan development in South Africa.
This includes enforcement of the new seven steps approach towards artisanship.
The seven steps detail the procedure to be followed towards developing an artisan in the country.
MISA’s current interventions with regard to the apprenticeship programme go as far as trade testing and certification.
The reality is that the majority of artisans produced by MISA and many other entities end up unemployed and not contributing to the economy of the country.
This results in government not maximising its return on investment.
MISA is currently placing artisans in municipalities, but the same artisans are not finally absorbed to become part of the municipal workforce.
This compromises the attainment of government’s Outcome 5, which aspires to produce a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
It is common knowledge that the same municipalities that are not absorbing these artisans have serious infrastructure operations and maintenance challenges.
For some strange reasons, they don’t take advantage of the available resources to improve their operations and maintenance capabilities.
It is concerning to note that only five of 18 MISA apprentices who were trade tested in November 2015 were absorbed into the local government sector.
The rest remain unemployed.
This is of great concern to us.
It is for this reason that MISA has now taken a strategic position to look beyond trade testing and certification of artisans, but to start supporting municipalities through placement of qualified artisans.
The programme will be piloted in the current financial year with placement of 100 artisans and water and waste-water process controllers.
The terms and conditions for placing the resources are expected to maximise absorption, ensure return on investment, contribute towards reducing unemployment, and above all, broaden the pool of skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
There is a need for such robust initiatives if we are to achieve the objectives of radical economic transformation.
There is an observation that apprentices currently in the MISA programme are overstaying.
This can be blamed on MISA, the apprentices themselves and the system.
I urge all parties to play their role in ensuring the speedy completion of the programme.
MISA should prioritise learner contracting and placement with the hosts, as well as timely supply of basic enablers such as protective clothing and tools of trade.
These will assist in accelerating on the job and off the job training and ultimately trade testing.
We will work with the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) and National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) to expedite certification to avoid the current situation where learners don’t have their certificates, months after passing their trade tests.
Learners and TVETS also have a role to play.
Learners should see this as an opportunity to shape their future and to make a meaningful contribution to the economy and the lives of the people of this country.
They need to exert maximum effort to complete their studies and open opportunities for others who are waiting out there, in the queue, to be afforded the same.
TVETS are encouraged to take this programme serious and provide learners with study material timeously.
Sub-standard offerings will only succeed at undermining the integrity of the institutions themselves and the programmes they offer.
This will, again, promote the misnomer that vocational education is second-rate to university education.
The ultimate loser will, unfortunately, be the country as a whole.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Artisans are much-needed in our country.
They perform vital tasks that unfortunately, an ever few number of people are able to do.
We are here today to support our artisans and tell the youth that the country’s future literally, lies in your hands.
We will be handing over protective clothing and some outstanding tools of trade to 61 apprentices.
I am told that 59 of the apprentices are electricians, while the other two are learners in the fitter and turner trade.
Our message to apprentices is that “It’s cool to be a 21st Century Artisan”.
We all need to strive for promotion of artisanship in local government for a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path and radical economic transformation.
Let’s work together to achieve these aims.
I thank you.