Interns deployed to help struggling KZN municipalites
Durban - THE Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department has hired 500 graduates in various fields to assist struggling municipalities in the province.
On Thursday, Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka officially launched the two-year Local Government Graduate Internship Programme in Pietermaritzburg.
The programme has a R60 million budget from Cogta.
Engineering, accounting, finance and town planning graduates, among other fields, were recruited to strengthen the capacity in municipalities.
Hlomuka said the launch was a major turning point in local government.
“Through this programme, we are turning the tide against youth unemployment while also addressing the shortages of critical skills in our communities. Last year, we assessed all our municipalities and the lack of certain skills was one of our main findings,” he said.
One of the interns, Snethemba Manyoni, hailed the project as a breakthrough for her.
“Being part of this programme has given me a lot of exposure as a civil engineering graduate. This is an opportunity for me to sharpen my skills and contribute towards the government’s efforts aimed at speeding up the delivery of services to our communities,” she said.
Manyoni is serving her internship at the Msunduzi municipality.
During a media briefing on municipal performance at Durban’s ICC last week, the SA Local Government Association (Salga) said smaller municipalities were battling to keep highly skilled professionals.
Salga president Thembi Nkadimeng said municipalities were graded such that the smaller the municipality, the poorer it became because of budget allocations due to its population.
“What Cogta in KZN has done is a step in the right direction,” said Nkadimeng at the time.
Salga provincial executive officer Sabelo Gwala said Salga KZN introduced the costing and evaluation of every job in municipalities. He said they encouraged value for money in every job.
“We appreciate Cogta’s move, but if we don’t reward employees accordingly, then we will lose out to those offering better scales. Young people want to be managed according to their performance. We do have some serious problems with wage disparities in the smaller municipalities, but we hope that the interventions we have introduced will help in turning the situation around for the best,” Gwala said.