Sunday 18 April 2021
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Broke NYS mum on center closure

Destitute times are haunting the National Youth Centre (NYS) which last week decided to go public with its intention to rent out some of its assets to keep the service running, but refused to share their official position on the matter.
Last week, NYS went public in a daily newspaper with an expression of interest for rental of the 200 hectares NYS Henties Bay Training Centre for five years and rental of office space (first floor measuring 276 square meters) at is headquarters in Windhoek for a one-year renewable rental agreement.
When put to the institution’s leadership to explain the rationale behind this new development, Public Relations Manager Johanna Kambala said the institution will not share its stance on the matter, until it is ready to do so. Attempts to get hold of Commissioner Onesmus Aupindi also proved futile as he also did not want to engage the media on the matter.
The Patriot understands that the economic turbulence currently experience in the country has brought the institution to its knees while waiting on government to rescue the situation.
In an answer to the government’s need for more skilled youth, as well as the youth’s plea to be equipped with the necessary skills to empower themselves and contribute to nation building, the NYS offers recognised skills training and personal development programs to the youth of Namibia.
The institution was awarded N$ 43.8 million from the shoestring national budget last year.
The rental of the coastal training center would mean that hundreds of youth in the coastal areas and around the country who anticipated finishing their skills with a recognised qualification that would have helped them secure employment or who would become self-employed, would now be cut short.
The centre conducted its last intake in 2017. When passed to the line minister for comment, Youth minister Erastus Uutoni said he was not at liberty to comment on the matter as he was still in the dark on the developments at the NYS house. Meanwhile, all is geared up for the opening of the NYS Civic and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) academy at its Rietfontein Training Centre situated between Otavi and Grootfontein on 11 March. It is anticipated that youth minister Uutoni will officiate the event.
Youth activists have criticised the NYS for placing the youth on the receiving end of the economic crunch while others have pushed government for not prioritising the youth.
“These guys are quick to throw the youth off the bus by closing the centre, but will make sure that their salaries are not affected. I am very sure that there is no employee at the centre who has lost their job, but it was easy to close their doors and keep the youth on the streets,” said Selma Kalenga, a VTC graduate and activist.
Another, fired shots at central government for prioritising “the wrong projects that only put money in the pockets of a few and leaves the masses with crumbs.”
Why are we building billion dollar roads when we have youth who are not trained? Who will drive on these roads when young people in the country are not skilled to even get then a job to buy cars to drive on these roads? Our leaders really need help. If we are closing down an entire centre, then let us also send some politicians home on unpaid leave for five years. Let us all feel the pinch. It is a shame that our leaders just don’t care until their bread is touched,” said Shipanga Absalom a graduated bricklayer from the NYS centre.
Since its inception in 2008, the NYS has seen thousands go through the program of which many have become self-employed. The NYS was established by an Act of Parliament and as an initiative by the government to address the plight of the youth, in order to make them productive citizens that will contribute to the social and economic development of the country.
The Henties Bay training centre took in its first recruits in 2014. These recruits would have completed their training at the Ondangwa centre, but because the police has to make use of the northern facility, it was decided to move the recruits to Henties Bay. This was however apparently only a temporary arrangement, and in future both Henties Bay and Ondangwa facilities would be used.
A few years later, the Henties Bay centre is now up for rental and has closed shop for its initial mandate.

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