In line with his commitment to strengthening the capacity of the sphere of local government, KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has announced an extension of the contracts of over 500 interns who were recruited by the department to work in municipalities. 

This morning, Hlomuka met with the employees who are part of the department’s internship programme to inform them that KZN Cogta has received permission from the Department of Public Service and Administration for the extension of internships by six to nine months. 

According to Hlomuka, the decision to extend the internship programme is a result of the work stoppages and lockdowns which affected the interns as much as the rest of the department. “Many of you started the internship programme in 2019 when we sent you to municipalities to use your skills for the improvement of the lives of our communities. When you had just started, the world experienced the outbreak of the novel coronavirus which brought about significant disruptions to this programme. The extension is an opportunity for you to make up on the time that was lost during the lockdowns” said Hlomuka. 

Currently, the department has over 500 interns who were recruited in 2019 and who have been assigned to work in municipalities in various fields, such as engineering, town planning, information technology, finance management and accounting. 

Cogta HOD Mr Thando Tubane, who was accompanying the MEC at the gathering, describes the internship programme as being aimed at curbing youth unemployment, building capacity within municipalities and, at the same time, providing graduates with valuable work experience. 

One of the beneficiaries Ms Snenhlanhla Mabaso has hailed the programme as a breakthrough in that it provides interns with opportunities to build capacity and sharpen skills to the benefit of the beneficiary municipalities. 

Another beneficiary of the programme, Thokani Nene from eMandeni, also praised the programme which has assisted him in being able to register with the professional body in his field of expertise.

The Mayor of the uMgungundlovu District Cllr Mzi Zuma also attended the meeting and thanked the department for providing these opportunities to graduates.