The DA in Gauteng has accused the provincial department e-Government of destroying the future of more than 30 interns who were promised jobs in their AI unit. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The DA in Gauteng has accused the provincial department e-Government of destroying the future of more than 30 interns who were promised jobs in their artificial intelligence unit following a government paid training in Germany.

DA spokesperson on finance and e-Government Adriana Randall said the provincial government spent R2.8 million to fly interns to Germany to learn about artificial intelligence (AI) but only a few of them managed to secure permanent jobs.

“The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng is shocked to learn that the department of e-Government spent millions of rand on training 45 interns. While offering internships is a step in the right direction, it is unacceptable that the department - after promising permanent employment - only retained 11,” Randall said.

She said the department by allegedly doing that was not seeing a return on their investment saying it should not have made promises they couldn’t follow through on.

Randall said the interns were employed as part of the artificial intelligence and robotics training programme which was run by the department along with Ntsumi Telecommunications, Liaport Africa and IBA Global Training.

“As part of the agreement after completing the year-long internship would be the offer of permanent employment but this did not happen.

“Some of the interns left their existing jobs to join the programme because an expectation was created that they would be offered permanent employment only to find out later that this was not the case,” Randall said.

She said the interns that were trained were not sitting at home with no income.

“Th eDA will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial legislature to ascertain exactly how much money was spent on the training of interns between 2016 and 2018, what measures are being put in place to ensure the retention of interns and if the interns are supplied with a certificate of completion once the training has been completed,” she said.

Randall said her party would also investigate whether it would be possible to take action against officials in the department for improper conduct in the handling of the internship programme. 

Political Bureau