Over 600 trainees at the National Youth Service’s (NYS) training centre in Rietfontein face a bleak future after they were asked to stay at home for an extended period because there is no money available to buy them food, books, uniforms and other essentials.
The trainees were supposed to start classes on 15 January after they went on leave in November last year, but they were told not to come back for classes until further notice.
Training officers at the centre have also been told not to report for work as there is no money to pay their salaries.
An insider at the National Youth Service admitted to the Windhoek Observer that they have been facing financial challenges lately.
“I am aware of what is going on at the Rietfontein centre. Students are still on leave because of a lack of funds. School has been delayed for almost a month now,” the NYS official said.
NYS Manager for Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Johanna Kambala, confirmed that the students are on leave, but was unable to answer queries sent to her on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on your query,” Kambala said.
The Rietfontien centre, which is located near Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa region, allegedly also spent days without electricity after CENORED cut off supplies due to non-payment of N$660,000.
Power was only restored on Friday after the NYS settled its bill with the service provider.
A total of 588 trainees graduated in 2016 after completing their multi-disciplinary skills training course at the centre.
The NYS centre provides civic training, national voluntary service and skills training to youth across the country.
Sources told the Windhoek Observer that the NYS’s Henties Bay centre has also not been operating in the past two months, after water was cut off because of non-payment.
Manager of civic training and head of centre in Henties Bay, Humphrey Mutumba, said the water concern was because of a misunderstanding between the municipality and NamWater.
“Everything is in place. There was an attempt to cut off the water, but that was because of a misunderstanding between NamWater and the municipality that needed to be rectified,” Mutumba explained.
The financial challenges facing NYS resulted in a recruitment freeze last year. The National Youth Service started with practical civic training and voluntary service in 1999, while skills training commenced with the establishment and furnishing of training workshops and recruitment of training officers at the Rietfontein training centre in 2008.