The minister of public enterprises, Malusi Gigaba and the Free State MEC for education, Tate Makgoe awarded 20 students with bursaries as Eskom celebratedits 90th anniversary at a local resort last Friday.
Gigaba said the bursarieswere an indication of both Eskom’s and government’s commitment to developing the skills of the youth.
He saidbursaries will help the recipients to become catalysts of change in the country and the continent’s development aspirations. He said the ANC government believes that the youth are not merely tomorrow’s leaders but must start exercising leadership now to prepare for the enormous responsibility that destiny has placed upon them.
The minister added that Eskomspent about a R1-billion in training about 12 000 learners and that the figure exceeds R1.2-billion for this financial year.
“The youth of South Africa are the guarantors of our future.Through them, today’s generations are offered a rare opportunity to interact with the future and, by investing in them, we are building our tomorrow today,” added Gigaba.
Gigaba told students that nothing was ever achieved with the best wishes alone. He said only commitment and hard-work will stand the test of time, no matter how many well-wishers or ill-wishers one might have, and emphasised that he expected excellence and hard work from the students.
At the same occasion, Makgoe noted that Eskom has placed 150 unemployed graduates on internship programmes last year alone. He said the utility company has adopted Lesaoana Intermediate School in QwaQwa.
“The enterprise has done the infrastructural audits of that school and has also established its needs, as itundertook to donate stationery, jerseys and shoes to needy learners of the school. Eskom has also pledged to build hostelsin farm schools around the province to ease learning for pupils who have to walk long distances to school,” added Makgoe.
He noted that there is a shortage of engineers to maintain electricity infrastructure, hence poor maintenance throughout the country.
The chairman of Eskom, Zola Tsotsi, said the company always seeks to contribute to the wellbeing of the poor in the country.
Tsotsi said the company specifically targets students from under-privileged backgrounds, but warned that the bursaries will be revoked and given to more deserving beneficiaries if the recipients’ performance is below expectations.
One of the recipients, Tshepo Lesago (19) – a first year electrical engineering at the Central University of Technology – vowed to work hard in order to join Eskom in the future.
Lesago stays with his grandmother and his family survives on social grants.
“The bursary will help improve my standard of living, while the general community will reap the fruits too after I have completedmy studies.”
Another beneficiary,Masabata Dlamini (21) a Bachelor of Social Science student at the University of the Free State, used to be funded by her elder sister because her parents are both unemployed. She was left at her wits’ end when her sister fell on hard times and could no longer afford to sponsor her studies.
She is grateful to Eskom and the education department for the opportunity she has received.