Over 600 young South Africans are currently at 3 SA Infantry Battalion in Kimberley as part of the youth leadership development programme run by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
The students initially assembled at Thaba Nchu early last month for intake and other administrative tasks after which they were moved to the Northern Cape capital.
Since arriving in Kimberley, the 633 strong group has been going through their various programmes with the overall aim of empowering them via discipline, entrepreneurial skills as well as social development and upliftment skills. These are integral to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s youth leadership development programme. Overall and in conjunction with the SANDF, the programme aims to build character by focussing on leadership, discipline, teamwork, volunteerism and patriotism.
The use of 3 SAI facilities is not the first time a military base has been a temporary home and learning base of young people who signed up for the initiative managed by Minister Gugile Nkwinti. Similar courses have been presented at the SA Navy Academy in Saldanha and the SA Army’s De Brug training area outside Bloemfontein. The SANDF, under previous Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, committed to assisting the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform with its National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec).
While at 3 SAI the students receive instruction in fields ranging from civic education through to health and safety, spiritual counselling (by the SANDF Chaplain Services), HIV awareness, effective communication, community project management as well as leadership training.
The Kimberley group will have their passing out parade on June 12 after which they will find themselves deployed to working environments, in either the public or private sector, to further sharpen their “employability skills”, an SANDF spokesman said. Some will find themselves interned to the sponsor department.
Since it started five years ago Narysec has had more than 4 000 young people attend its courses, the majority of which are staged at SANDF bases where qualified instructors supervise all training. Medicals are conducted before training starts by SA Military Health Services to ensure students are fit for the physical rigours of the course.