Wednesday, April 5 2017 marked the graduation of the 2016 candidates from the Ceres-based Wolwekloof Academy Intern Programme, a project of the Overstrand municipality’s Operations Office in Hermanus.
This youth development project, born from a partnership between the Municipality and the Department of Community Safety (DOCS), is aimed at establishing a social crime prevention and upliftment programme for local youth between the ages of 18 to 25 years who are unemployed, have matric and no criminal record. The initiative comes as a response to the escalating crime rate linked to prevalent substance abuse issues, unemployment, poaching and an active gang culture in predominantly disadvantaged communities.
As part of the 12-month curriculum, candidates are given training in first aid, disaster management, fire fighting, peacekeeping and anti-corruption, to name but a few.
In turn, the interns provide support to local law enforcement authorities in matters such as manning the CBD Community Safety Kiosk, beach patrols, issuing non-moving traffic violations, by law enforcement and affording general community service at key events like the Whale Festival, Municipal Showcase and over the Festive Season.
Interns are further integrated into various other aspects of the Municipality’s daily operations, where the focus is centred on public space maintenance and community safety issues in the area.
According to Law Enforcement Senior Inspector Zingani Tshefu, co-ordinator of Overstrand’s interns, the programme is designed to ensure candidates have the necessary skills and training that would afford them greater employment opportunities upon graduation. “Already two have managed to secure permanent employment and five have obtained their learner driving license in this time. This experience will also pave the way for any future studies any of them may wish to undertake,” said Tshefu.
A sentiment that was echoed by one of the graduates, Siyathemba Sibhozo who stated, “I can’t thank the Municipality and DOCS enough. It was such a privilege to attend the Academy and learn so many interesting things. I now have a recognised qualification that will not only support my CV, but hopefully open doors for me.”