Responding to socio-economic problems was not the mandate of the municipality, said Municipal Manager, Ntombi Baart. Rather, this was the job of certain government departments and the municipality's role was to facilitate their operations in Makana. Baart said this as Makana came under fire for neglecting youth development during a recent integrated development planning forum.
Integrated development planning is a key strategic government tool for tackling developmental issues. With the new Council's term having recently begun, they must formulate and adopt a new integrated development plan (IDP) for Makana Municipality for the next five years.
The forum is the means for the community to take part in the process and at last week's meeting there were representatives from Famsa, Child Welfare, Eluxolweni Shelter, the government departments of agriculture, public works and health, the Makana Environmental Management Forum and St Andrew's College.
Eluxolweni Shelter, which is a shelter for street children that have mostly suffered severe childhood traumas, made a powerful plea for action.
Grahamstown… is the worst town… when you look at youth development. The reason there is so much crime and other problems, you name it, is because our youth are not working and are not informed. They are there without a purpose," said Xolelwa Vulindlu.
I work with young people at Eluxolweni. We try by all means to put them in programmes. But by the time they leave the centre they are afraid to go back to the community because there are no jobs.
"We know that Social Development, Public Works has these programmes – but they are employing the same people."
The Eluxolweni representative, Vulindlu said she had been attending IDP meetings and had heard there was a database for the unemployed youth, but nothing seemed to be happening in curbing youth development issues.
"So I would like to know which department or stakeholder is responsible for youth empowerment. I know there is the National Youth Development Agency and all of that, but you look at it and it never changes."
In reply, Social Development Area Manager Sindy Adam said the municipality's Masupatsela youth development programme recruited young people from different wards for various projects. She said they were processing applications and were required to complete the process in two weeks.
"We will request the municipality to assist us in the shortlisting and finalising," Adam said.
One member of the public said many young people in Grahamstown had Grade 12 – but were still unable to get a job. "That's why they turn to crime."
Another speaker said the closing-down of businesses such as Metro Cash n Carry had made the situation worse, and asked what attempts Makana had made to get a share of the R9 billion set aside by the government for job-creation. "The new council has been given a mandate. What is the council doing to get a slice of that cake?"
Municipal Manager, Ntombi Baart said youth development was the responsibility of the whole community and responding to socio-economic problems was not the mandate of the municipality. She added that they have made applications to source funding from the R9 billion put aside for job creation.
She said ward profiles were created from ward-based planning that could be used by government departments to respond to such issues. Baart said the municipality's role was to mobilise the departments responsible which could be done through the intergovernmental forum and facilitate things in such a way that they could respond to socio-economic issues.
IDP Manager Mzolisi Pasiya outlined the plan – "how we are going to engage, collate comments from the public and individual programmes of government.
The IDP is not only about the municipality but also about the community. So that is why we need input from the community," Pasiya said