Pretoria - Government is making progress with the National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec), says Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti.
Narysec's main goal is to recruit and develop rural youth to be para-professionals by training them to render much needed community services where they live.
Narysec was launched in 2011 with an initial 7 900 participants. It now has over 8 000 participants. To date, 4 500 youths have either received training or are in the process of completing training in various disciplines, mainly in the construction sector.
A further 855 have been trained in records management, and are currently involved in the scanning and tallying of land claim files in all provinces. About 80 youths, who have studied maths and geography, have been trained in disaster management and are to be placed in municipalities.
Delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament on Thursday, Nkwinti said the programme was widely viewed as a success and was set to expand. However, it required additional resources.
In his Budget Speech in February, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that more funds would be allocated to the programme.
"Working in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education and Training, through the National Skills Development Fund, we have managed to secure an additional R190 million for the current financial year.
"These additional resources will enable us to increase enrolment from the current 8 041 to a total of 15 000 participants by the end of this financial year. This is surely a shining example of constructive collaboration in skills training for meaningful job creation," he said.
Narysec is a two-year programme aimed at empowering rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country.
It complements the department's job creation model, which ensures that at least one person per household in the rural areas where the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme is being piloted, benefits from skills development and gets employment.
Nkwinti also announced that the initiatives to revitalise rural towns and villages, which commenced in 2010, would continue. This year, they are set to complete a stadium and recreation facilities in Jacobsdal in the Free State.
"We have started work on the construction of a multi-purpose facility in the village of Ha-Masia in Limpopo," he said.
Services which will be offered at this facility include a computer lab, amphitheatre, cultural village, sports facilities, auditorium, library and administration offices.