59 graduates sit idle at home
The graduates were meant to be absorbed into the Department of Roads and Transport, which funded their studies
FIFTY NINE University of Limpopo graduates are idling after the Limpopo government failed to employ them at the beginning of the year.
The students, who were sponsored by the provincial government, obtained their B.Admin in Local Government at the university's Turfloop campus last year.
The graduates were to be absorbed into the Department of Roads and Transport, which funded their studies.
The move was aimed at wooing an adequate workforce and to impart transport related skills to young graduates in the province.
Since the contract was signed in 2005, 170 graduates have been employed by the department.
The department said yesterday the programme was supposed to run for seven years from 2005 until December 2011.
Spokesman Joshua Kwapa said: "We have already spent about R16.4-million on student accommodation, meals and tuition fees for three years.
"We have also spent an additional R300,000 on the development of the curriculum, which was outsourced by the university and provided by the Council for Science and Industrial Research."
But the same treatment could not be extended to last year's students, who were supposed to be absorbed by the department at the beginning of this year. The students are now forced to sit at home doing nothing.
Karabo Manaka, one of the affected graduates, said: "Other institutions have refused to take us because the degree we studied for was province-based. We are even unable to work anywhere outside the province".
Another student, France Malatji, said even recruitment agencies could not recognise the degree, let alone other government departments.
Kwapa said the department was fully aware of the predicament faced by the graduates.
"We are currently waiting for approval from the provincial treasury and we are confident this matter is being attended to with the priority it deserves."
The department was one of the five in the province that had been placed under administration.
Other departments that suffered the same fate are education, health and social development, public works and treasury.
All their finances are currently being run by administrators.