Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NARYSEC HEADQUARTERS
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Nkwinti opens Thaba Nchu Narysec headquarters
By Mtobeli Mxotwa
The Thaba Nchu national rural youth service corps (NARYSEC) headquarters outside
Bloemfontein in the Free State came into operations over the weekend when the
institute admitted about 1000 unemployed rural youths from the various provinces of
the country to start their two year skills training..
Several dignitaries, including the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Mr
Lechesa Tsenoli, who told the new recruits to face hardships head-on and to never
retreat in the face of challenges during their training until they achieved their noble
goal of acquiring the needed skills that would make them marketable and be able to
start their own businesses.
The weekend event was a milestone to the Narysec programme of the Department of
Rural Development and Land Reform which had started it in 2010 with a small number
The new premises will be used for induction, medical testing, career advice, enterprise
development, career expo and enterprise field trips.
The NARYSEC programme had at one stage 14000 trainees which had also assisted
the department with other programmes, including restitution, household profiling and
Some of the earlier trainees have since started their own businesses while others
have been snapped up by big businesses.
The rural development department has been using the various Further Education and
Training (FET) colleges to train the rural youths in the various skills, such as
construction, waste water management, electricity and others.
In the long-term these youths will be trained at the Thaba Nchu headquarters as soon
as they have completed their two months discipline and patriotism education at the
Minister Gugile Nkwinti who hosted the guests disclosed that the president of the
country, President Jacob Zuma will, during the year, be invited to officially open the
He disclosed that the former Thaba Nchu FET college premises, which have now
been converted into the Narysec training headquarters had been negotiated with the
Free State provincial government which Premier Ace Magashula handed over to
Minister Gugile Nkwinti during a ceremony last year.
The establishment of a NARYSEC headquarters in the far flung rural Thaba Nchu
which previously formed part of the apartheid Bantustan policy is set to change the
socio-economic trajectory of this impoverished former portion of the Bophuthatswana
homeland, previously meant for the Tswana people.
During the week several unemployed people flocked to the gates of the new
headquarters of the rural youth training facility to look for work.
According to the government rural development maestro, Minister Nkwinti, this new
facility will also help with the development of the surrounding Thaba Nchu villages in
order to transform the rural economy of Thaba Nchu.
Several government departments, including the Free State government have been
roped into the process so the rural youth development programme could be a
Nkwinti told the guests on Sunday that the youth development was a back-up for our
country to sustain its development.
Trained youngsters will assist in the development of their areas, he added.
The NARYSEC programme has been training unemployed rural youths first for a
period of two years and later for a four-year period.
The admission criterion was that the youths should be between 18 and 35 years of
age and be in possession of Grade 10.
However, over the weekend Minister Nkwinti announced several changes to the youth
The programme will now only accept youths of 18 years to 25 years and that the
programme will now revert to the two year period because the problems that had
forced the government to do it over a four-year period have been sorted out.
Some of the former NARYSEC trainees have done sterling work for their communities.
In Malamulele in Limpopo a group of NARYSEC trainees who had done construction
in 2013 built a house for a poor family that did not qualify for the free government
They went further and negotiated with a furniture company to provide furniture for the
three bedroom house and for local shops to provide groceries for the family.
The NARYSEC programme was conceptualised by Minister Nkwinti during a trip to
China in 2009 and was subsequently rolled out in 2010.
The new NARYSEC recruits will spend three weeks at the Thaba Nchu
headquarters before they are sent to the army base in Kimberley for further training in
leadership skills, patriotism and discipline.
Minister Nkwinti urged the new recruits to persevere with their training, adding that the
NARYSEC programme would evolve over the years as the department acquired more
experience to do it better.
Needless to say that although the NARYSEC trainees are at one stage trained by the
army in certain life skills, they are, unlike in Kenya, not part of the military
The NARYSEC programme per se is not employment and the trainees are only given
a monthly stipend to purchase their personal needs during the period of training.
Once a trainee completes the two-year course, the department withdraws the stipend.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Tsenoli, who is a former deputy minister of rural
development and land reform department and who is credited for successful
negotiations with the Free State provincial government for the transfer of the Thaba
Nchu FET premises to the DRDLR, told the new trainees to be prepared to open
“closed doors” in order to improve their lives.
Thaba Nchu or the black mountain is a Free State town situated 60 kilometres east
The town was established in 1873 and is largely populated by Tswana and Sotho
History tells us that the town grew larger following the 1913 Natives’ Land Act that
stated Thaba Nchu as a homeland for Tswana people.
It was known among the Voortrekkers as Blesberg which meant bald mountain.
Thaba Nchu has a very dry and cold winter with periodically wet summers.
Its geographical features include the promontories of the Lesotho Mountains. Much of
the surrounding land is arable, which has been employed for large scale farming of
both commercial and domestic nature.
The town is also known for its Aran hand-knitted woollen garments made by local
It is for these Thaba Nchu natural attributes that the rural development department
has identified the Thaba Nchu area as a suitable site where it can train its rural corps
in the much needed countryside skills such as agriculture to drive away the frontiers of
poverty from our rural enclaves.
Mtobeli Mxotwa is a columnist and a director in the Department of Rural Development
and Land Reform.