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Pretoria – Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has launched a R10 million Construction Skills Development and job creation project in memory of Anene Booysen.

Launched on Saturday in Bredasdorp, in partnership with the Construction Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and the Cape Agulhas Municipality, the project seeks to contribute to the reduction of high unemployment and poverty rates. It also seeks to uplift the lives of the local communities in and around Bredasdorp.

Booysen, aged 17, was gang raped and murdered in February this year. Her body was found at the construction site where she worked.

Nzimande said that they were launching the project in an attempt to ease the material conditions of the Bredasdorp community, so that some of the off-shoots of poverty and unemployment do not lead to a repeat of what happened to Anene.

“She was actively contributing to ensuring a better life for herself and her family through working on that construction site. To some this intervention may be viewed as a mere commemoration, however as government, we regard it as another intervention in empowering and uplifting this community,” Nzimande said.

The R10-million Project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

Empower the women of the area, by developing and improving their skills;

Address violence against women and children;

Develop and provide unemployed individuals, including the youth of the area, with specific skills to ensure that they become more employable or to start their own businesses;

Create job opportunities for unemployed individuals;

Improve the skills of municipal workers; and

Build and sustain a Skills Development Centre for the community.

Nzimande announced that this initiative will result in 675 learners being trained in different programmes whereby on completion of their training they will participate in numerous community projects.

“These projects will directly address the local economic development needs.”

Each trainee will also receive a monthly stipend of about R1500, which will help in alleviating the socio-economic conditions of the community in the short term while the skills they will receive will lead to longer-term more sustainable benefits.

The training will last for a minimum of nine months and a maximum of 12 months depending on field of training, with a stipend of R 1500 per month per learner who will receive short skills programmes, Learnerships and Apprenticeships.

The investment will also include a Recognition of Prior Learning process so that artisanal skills can be formally recognised and certified.

The short skills programmes will include Electrical Construction, Health and Safety and Solar Geyser Installation, while Learnerships will be in Community House Building and Road Construction.

The minister also announced five full-bursaries for study at the local Boland FET College and another five for University study open for the local top five Matriculants in the 2013 Matric exams.

In addition, the Construction SETA, also matched the minister's awards with another five full bursaries for study at the Boland FET College, and five for University study.

In total 20 full-study bursaries, 10 from the Department of Higher Education and Training; and 10 from the Construction SETA in addition to the R10-million Skills Development Project.

The house next to where Booysen was discovered with the injuries that led to her death, will be turned into the Anne Booysen Skills Development Center as its intended beneficiary has found it difficult to take occupancy of it. –