Bulawayo youths turn to loitering

BULAWAYO - A  number of youths in Bulawayo have turned to loitering in town rather than sitting at home claiming they have nothing productive to do.

One of the youths interviewed by the Daily News but refused to be named said there was little they can do in Bulawayo.

He added that it was better to get into town and loiter instead of staying at home to bother his aged parents who expect something from him.

“Akula lutho engingalwenza koBulawayo ngoba akulamsebenzi (there is nothing that he can do because there are no jobs in Bulawayo),” he said.

In its manifesto, President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF which won a majority seats in the July 2013 harmonised elections promised to create more than a million jobs in the first year.

But it is urban youths who face the daunting task of getting jobs as the job market continues to shrink with more people being thrown onto the streets as factories continue to close shop.

He said most of his friends have since left the country for neighbouring South Africa, itself battling rising joblessness among restive youths.

He is also planning to  jump the border because of the shrinking job opportunities.

Godwin Phiri the director of a youth organisation called Intcha.com said youths in Bulawayo loiter and get involved in unscrupulous behaviour because of a dearth of income generating programmes that they can get involved in.

“What should be done however is to make sure that there is revival of industries in Bulawayo so that youth will find something to do and stop loitering,” Phiri said.

Bulawayo provincial youth development officer Ophas Dube said his ministry had very few youth centres that could absorb the spiking number of youths loitering on the streets.

“The population of youths in Bulawayo exceeds that of other age-groups and with the few training centres we have, we cannot adequately reduce youth loitering. We still need more facilities in order to curb the situation,” he said.

Dube said the ministry had various programmes that sought to mitigate youth loitering in Bulawayo.

“We have the Youth Fund in which youths from the ages of 13-35 years can apply and start various projects. Last year, more than 250 youths in Bulawayo benefited from this fund,” Phiri said.

He said they also have ward youth officers assisting youths to develop proposals in whatever sector they want to venture and specialise on.

There are two vocational centres, in Sizinda and in Lobengula suburbs where youth can go and learn different skills such as electronics, carpentry, cookery and hairdressing for them to start viable projects.

Dube said the centre charges affordable fees with an easy payment plan for youths who have financial challenges and they are looking forward to having more youths joining these vocational centres this year.

“The ministry also has an Integrated Skills Outreach in which youths can be trained in their different locations and arrangements are often made to train them as per request.

“We have Youth Interact Centres where we offer career guidance, youth information and work with different stakeholders that assist us in promoting youths,” he said.

“We also have project called the informal apprenticeship project for youth which is sponsored by the International Labour Organisation where we identify various youths form different places and train them different skills, give them certificates and start-up kit towards their own businesses pioneered in Bulawayo that has spread to other provinces and more than 300 youth benefited from it.”

Phiri said his ministry appealed to youths to join some of these programmes and form youth associations so that they can assist and develop each other’s different skills instead of loitering in the streets.

Comments (1)

They won`t be just loitering for long.idle hands .....that is asking for trouble

Torai hobho - 5 January 2014

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