21 February 2018

Namibia: Govt Spends On Dormant Youth Centre

Government is pumping money into a youth training centre that has been dormant for the past 15 years.

Community members at Farm Du Plessis in the Omaheke region expressed concern about the training centre in an interview with The Namibian last week.

The youth centre was constructed for the youth ministry back in 1997, and was meant to impart agricultural skills to the local youth.

However, by the early 2000s, it had only trained a handful of people from Berg Auchas, and has since only been used to host occasional workshops, or to house road construction workers.

Last week, farmers said local youths had no jobs or skills, and were loitering around as well as spending most of their time drinking.

One of the community leaders, Maria Kamanda, and senior traditional councillor Libhard Katiti Mbaeva last week urged government to rectify the matter this year.

Kamanda told The Namibian yesterday that people reported for work every day at the centre, but no youth training has been taking place there.

She said the seven workers have been getting their salaries every month for doing nothing at the centre.

This is in spite of a report by The Namibian two years ago about the situation at the centre, which cost N$2,5 million to build.

At the time, The Namibian also pointed out that N$50 000 was being spent on salaries, while N$40 000 was going to pay for electricity and water supplies, to which some neighbouring farmers have set illegal connections.

Following that report, the youth ministry promised that the centre would be utilised, but two years later it is still a white elephant. In 2015, then youth permanent secretary Gabriel Sinimbo said the centre had received new equipment.

Newly appointed sports minister Erastus Uutoni, who expressed shock about the centre and that people were being paid for doing nothing, yesterday said he will visit the farm soon.

Local farmer Isidora Bok (46) said the youth training centre has become a place where many go to steal water.

She said there was a time when students were registered, but no training was initiated.

One of the young people at the farm, Rosina Hoxobes (25), said she hopes the centre starts offering training soon as she would also like to be trained.

Hoxobes said she would have loved to become an interior designer, but if the centre opens, she is willing to enrol for any course that would get her a job.

"It will also be nice if the centre can hire local people, instead of bringing people from outside to do those odd jobs that we can also do," she stressed.

Okorukambe constituency councillor Raphael Mokaleng said he could not respond to questions yesterday.

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