Agency plans to set up shop in Bonteheuwel

Xolani Gobelo from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) explained the requirements for applying for a bursary.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is hoping to establish a satellite office in Bonteheuwel, aimed at those young people who cannot afford transport costs to get to its Cape Town office.

This was announced during “youth against crime and socio-economic dialogue”, which was held at the Bonteheuwel library hall on Tuesday October 16.

The dialogue focused on opportunities for youth empowerment through education and skills development, as well as entrepreneurship.

Lerato Gambu, NYDA spokesperson, said however, that he was unable to give a timeline as to when the satellite officer would open, as it depends on the space available at the Sub-council 5 office, and Ward 50 councillor, Angus Mckenzie.

“If the municipality says here is an office, we are ready, but the timeline is duty-bound by the councillor,” he said.

The agency brought other stakeholders with them, including representatives from the SAPS Western Cape Youth Desk, Bishop Lavis SAPS, as well as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Among those who welcomed the presence of NSFAS, was Keanu Sauls, 18, a Grade 12 pupil at Newlands Cricket High School and Bonteheuwel resident.

“I am glad to have heard from NSFAS, as I would like to make use of their services next year. I am hoping to study sport science,” Keanu said.

Xolani Gobelo from NSFAS announced that the scheme no longer offers loans, but full bursaries for tertiary studies to those who qualify.

“You don’t have to pay back a cent, but if you fail, we take the money back.

“Anyone who is a South African citizen, and whose household income is R350 000 a year or less, and who has matric, can apply. We are talking about taxpayers’ money, so we don’t pay for any failed subjects,” Mr Gobelo said.

Mr Mckenzie said during his speech at the event, that he hopes this initiative is the start of “greater things to come”.

“Young people in our area do not have access to the services available. The biggest challenges young people face include gangsterism and drug abuse.

“Far too often the lack of knowledge leads to joining gangs. The sub-council office can become a NYDA office – to be that beacon for you to help find opportunities to change your life, but to hold us accountable.”

Activist Irma Titus welcomed the satellite office, but cautioned that the are must be made safe.

“I can’t sit here at the town centre to use the free wifi at 7pm, because I risk being robbed. I am supposed to be safe, however, when the library is closed, this area becomes a ghost town,” she said.