The contracts of more than 300 000 teachers and general assistants employed at schools
across the country under the Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus programme have been
extended to the end of April.
But because of the impact the assistants have played in schools during the difficult times of
Covid-19, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) says it is lobbying for a further extension
beyond 30 April.
The contracts commenced in December last year after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced
the stimulus package in October. The contracts were expected to come to an end on 31 March.
DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the sector was humbled by the work ethic, commitment,
drive, and collaboration by schools and the assistants in implementing the initiative.
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“We have, however, begun discussions with the firm premise that the initiative should continue
to be funded in order to continue the high level of support the assistants continue to offer to our
schools,” Mhlanga said.
He added that the second phase of the initiative’s modalities would be concluded and would
also involve time frames, funding, and focus areas for the skills training programme.
Mhlanga said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga would also be embarking on oversight
visits to monitor the initiative’s progress in schools in the Limpopo province.
Among the assistants’ duties were to scan pupils’ temperatures at school entrances, sanitising,
and offering additional support in classrooms. They also assisted in ensuring the schools were
clean and observed all Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department placed 48 000 youth as
Mabona said there had been a positive feedback from schools indicating the impact the
assistants were having on educators and the general running of schools.
“Schools are actually advocating for the department to consider extending the project beyond
30 April 2021,” Mabona said.
Limpopo DBE spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said the province was allocated 52 055 posts.
The provincial department also requested schools not to replace any assistants who would have
resigned from their contracts.
Meanwhile, the Western Cape had employed more than 17 500 assistants since the inception of
the stimulus programme.
Western Cape education spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the assistants had assisted
schools greatly in many areas.
She added that the extension also afforded schools opportunities to ensure that critical matters
were attended to and to aid in planning for the second term.
“In addition to the assistance provided by the general assistants and classroom assistants, the
stimulus has provided much needed financial support to schools in terms of the saving of SGB
‘The programme managed to save thousands of SGB posts throughout the province,” Hammond
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