Volunteers aged between 18 and 35 years old were involved in a youth brigade programme organized by the Department of Human Settlements in response to a call for the upscaling of government interventions for youth development.

Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls August, said the youth volunteers participated in the programme either as professional labourers, entrepreneurs or beneficiaries.

“The youth gain artisan development, employment enterprise development and professional development. Over 200 young people have been trained since the programme started and have gone on to receive further technical training through training and vocational institutions,” she said.

Youth empowerment

The MEC said while the programme is intended to empower unemployed youth, it was also intended to address the housing backlog in the Province.

“According to the statistics report of 2016, there are 1.7 million households in the province. Of these 471 698 households are situated in rural areas, so the department is prioritising human settlement developments in rural areas,” Sauls said.

Ntabankulu local mayor, Councillor Vusi Mgoduka, said good working relations between municipalities and the provincial government were crucial to ensuring proper service delivery.

“Well, there is a lot of work that lies ahead when it comes to the provision of services, we are engaging with the MEC going forward, and we are getting positive feedback and this is proof to that,” said Mgoduka, referring to the newly built houses.

The mayor also donated furniture to one of the new home beneficiaries which is a child-headed home. The programme trained more than 30 youth unemployed in developing more skills.

One of the volunteers, Zanele Mqiqwa, said they were all excited and keen to gain more skills and eventually be employed.