Gauteng education dept receives 120,000 applications for Covid-19 youth brigades programme

MEC Panyaza Lesufi receives donations at Tshwane Food bank from MealSA, who have set a goal to collect donations of one million bags of maize meal, 23 April 2020, Tshwane Food Bank. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The programme will see unemployed youth brought in to assist the department to curb the spread of the virus at schools and government offices.

The Gauteng department of education says it has received at least 120,000 applications for its Covid-19 youth brigades programme.

Recruited youth will be deployed to different schools and government buildings across the province to assist with screenings, data capturing and monitoring compliance.

While the programme is seeking to accommodate an intake of 7,000 people, the department has received at least 120,000 applications, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced during a briefing by the Provincial Command Council, which is steering Gauteng’s Covid-19 response.

The deadline for applications was 4pm on Thursday.

How will the brigades be chosen and placed?

A potential candidate would need to be between 18 and 35 years old. Once approved, they will be placed at schools, based on distance and proximity.

Those with Grade 12, diploma and degree qualifications would be considered to undertake different responsibilities, department spokesperson Steve Mabona told News24.

When will the brigades start and how long will the programme run for?

Mabona said the plan was to get the group to start on 1 June when schools reopen. The programme is expected to run for three months.

Speaking at the briefing, Lesufi said the programme would be extended beyond three months if there was a need.

Once the recruitment process was done, those chosen would be trained by officials from the departments of education and health.

Will brigades be vetted and how much will they be paid?

The brigades would undergo vetting processes to ensure they did not pose a danger to children. Candidates with a criminal record would not be considered.

The recruits will be paid a stipend.

“It is important to reiterate that this is not employment, hence we will consider all that will allay any fear and dispel any suspicion from parents,” said Mabona.

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