Johannesburg - The National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec) is the future of rural development in South Africa, says Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti.
Speaking to SAnews after The New Age/SABC business briefing in Fourways on Tuesday, Nkwinti said through this programme, they had taken on board over 11 000 young people from across the country's rural areas and had helped over 4 000 of them to get theoretical training at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.
"We train them so that they can go back to develop their respective rural communities with the skills that they acquire from us, but some of them are being absorbed in urban areas [which is fine]," he said.
Narysec was launched in 2011 with an initial 7 900 participants. To date, 4 500 participants have either received, 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 scanning and counting land claim files in all the provinces. Eighty participants have been trained in disaster management for placement in municipalities.
Nkwinti, who supports the idea of getting rural schools to teach farming skills to high school learners, said Narysec was widely viewed as a success and was targeted for growth, but it required additional resources.
"Our view is that skills development for young people is critical in rebuilding our country. As government, we've done a lot in terms of accelerating water and sanitation provision, adequate roads, housing and electrifying households.
"We've delivered Early Childhood Development Centres, clinics and other basic human rights needs that never existed before in areas such as Muyexe in Limpopo, and now we are moving to other areas in other provinces, where we are also building houses for needy beneficiaries.
"The pace is slow, but we are pleading with our people to be patient. We are getting there. The country is quite big and resources are very limited," said Nkwinti.
He said they had many areas to get around to in terms of delivering services.
"When people see us in a particular area, others are not seeing us in another corner, they think we are too slow because we are not with them, and we can understand because our people have suffered for too long. We want to assure them that we will be there in their respective areas."
Narysec is a two-year programme aimed at empowering rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country.
The programme complements the department's job creation model, which aims to ensure that at least one person per household in the rural areas gets employed and that such employment is linked to skills development in localities where the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme is being piloted. -SAnews.gov.za