The Portfolio Committee on Public Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation has raised its apprehension at the continued unfunded mandate of Thusong Service Centre despite their obvious importance of the services they render especially due their proximity to the people.
These concerns were raised following a weeklong visit to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal to assess the impact of services rendered by Thusong centres as well as the National Youth Development Agency.
To counteract this challenge the Committee is of the view that national and provincial government must make budget available to assist in the administration of these centres.
Leaving their operations in the hands of financially constrained local government has a negative impact of the quality and scope of services rendered. This allocation will ensure that the centres expand on the services it offers as well as improve the quality thereof.
While the Committee is satisfied by what it has seen, it remains of the view that there is room for improvement in terms of quality and scope of services. This challenge of lack of funding was evident at Intsika Yethu Thusong Centre (Eastern Cape) and Archie Gumede Thusong Centre (KZN) and it is in all likelihood a challenge facing all the Thusong centres in the country.
Despite the many positives that came out of the visit, the Committee is concerned by information that the uMnini Thusong Service Centre remains partially operational due mainly to challenges around leases which is a matter handled by the Department of Public Works. The Committee calls for an urgent intervention by the Minister of Public Works and his provincial counterpart to resolve these challenges.
Furthermore, the Committee is of the view that these centres should be utilised as entry points for departments that are mandated with economic development.
“While the social services provided at these centres are a necessity, a movement towards stimulating economic activity within these societies will play a central role in fighting the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality,” said Mrs Bertha Mabe, the Chairperson of the Committee.
Meanwhile, the Committee visited various beneficiaries of programmes run by the National Development Agency. The Committee is impressed that there is a tangible impact that the NYDA is making in the lives of young people in the two provinces visited. Despite this, the Committee remains of the view that the NYDA can still do more to impact a greater number of the youth than they are currently reaching.
“What is clear and was vigorously emphasised by the youth within the Eastern Cape and KZN was that the Agency remains a critical tool for youth development. The Committee will thus continue to monitor the work of the Agency to ensure that maximum impacts of its programmes are felt,” Mrs Mabe emphasised.
The Committee remains committed to ensuring that the Thusong Service Centres service the people of this country and to this end will do regular visits to these centres countrywide. The Committee will also continue putting the NYDA under intense spotlight especially because of the high unemployment rate among the youth of this country.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, MRS BERTHA MABE
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Source : Parliament of South Africa