Minister Brown urges youth to study maths, science

Pretoria - Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has urged the youth of Mokgalwana village in the North West to study maths and science.

The message is simple: study maths and science. Our State-owned companies (SOCs) need young people with those skills, she said.

Minister Brown visited the village on Monday, where she handed over a multipurpose community centre in Mokgalwana, Northam.

The Minister said the country's SOCs are in need of pilots, engineers, accountants and lawyers, among others.

Last year, the six SOCs in the Public Enterprises portfolio (Eskom, Transnet, Denel, SA Express, SAFCOL and Alexkor) collectively enrolled nearly 9 000 trainees in various critical skills programmes. Additionally, nearly 1 800 learners received bursaries for the current financial year, said Minister Brown.

South Africa commemorates Youth Month in June. The month pays tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprisings in Soweto.

Eskom key to economy

Minister Brown said Eskom was pivotal to South Africa as it provides the energy needed to keep the country going. Each week, more households get connected to the electricity grid.

Every week, Eskom rolls out electricity connections to more South Africans in more villages across the nation, and it is supplying the power that industry needs, she said.

The Minister said the power parastatal, which is the fourth largest electricity regulator in the world, is also an important job creator.

More than 46 000 South Africans work for Eskom, putting food on their families' tables. This makes it among the largest employers in the country, she said.

The company's build programme has also provided jobs for many more people in the construction industry.

As the power utility has been subjected to allegations of conflicts of interest and corruption, Minister Brown said it is in the interest of the company and South Africa that the allegations are proven or removed from the table as quickly as possible.

The Minister previously announced an investigation to look into coal contracts and procurement.

She said the utility's billion rand coal contracts were mostly held by white companies.

Not much has changed. Some of these contracts are coming up for renewal. Those who hold them don't want to lose them. We must find ways, when the contracts are renewed, of bringing in more black-owned companies. They must be brought in through legal tender processes, she said.

Multipurpose centre

The multipurpose centre that Minister Brown handed over has a computer room, sewing room, four tribal offices and a community hall to be used by the surrounding communities.

As a build-up to the National Youth Month programme, the handover was a significant step towards addressing skills shortages, lack of development, and economic exclusion experienced by most young people in Northam.

The centre, which includes a clinic, will benefit the community, said Minister Brown.

I know that women in poorer communities bear particular burdens, and that access to health facilities for you and your children shouldn't be one of them. This clinic will benefit all in the community - men, women and children. But I am particularly pleased by what it means for women, and mothers in particular, said Minister Brown.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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