I have been left with noth­ing - dept worker

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - BENIDA PHILLIPS STAFF RE­PORTER

AN­DREW Leny­ora, who has worked for nearly 10 years at the North­ern Cape Depart­ment of Sport, Arts and Cul­ture as part of the Ex­panded Pub­lic Works Pro­gramme (EPWP), faces a very uncer­tain fu­ture.

He is one of the EPWP work­ers whose con­tracts with the depart­ment come to an end to­day.

“I don’t know what I am go­ing to do now,” said Leny­ora, who has been em­ployed as a sport co-or­di­na­tor at the depart­ment for al­most a decade, yes­ter­day.

“I had been work­ing in the depart­ment un­der the pro­gramme for the past nine years. I was em­ployed in 2008 un­der the then Mass Par­tic­i­pa­tion Pro­gramme (MPP), where I was re­spon­si­ble for coach­ing soc­cer for chil­dren and teenagers. The pro­gramme was changed to the EPWP pro­gramme in 2012/13.

“Dur­ing the MPP we re­ceived a salary of R1 200 but our salaries were in­creased to R2 600 when we fell un­der the EPW pro­gramme. I have worked as a co-or­di­na­tor since then, but now I am left with noth­ing af­ter so many years at the depart­ment,” said Leny­ora.

He added that he was pas­sion­ate about and com­mit­ted to the pro­gramme.

“I love soc­cer and I play the sport my­self. I love coach­ing the chil­dren as many of them do not have any other af­ter school pro­grammes they can at­tend. I had one player who grad­u­ated to play for Kaizer Chiefs. Oth­ers have grad­u­ated to the Pa­trice Mot­sepe and SAB leagues. It brings me joy to see how much they en­joy the sport and that I am able to share my pas­sion.”

Leny­ora said that keep­ing the pro­gramme run­ning over the years had also been an up­hill bat­tle.

“I had to use my own equip­ment to train the young­sters. We were not spon­sored by the depart­ment and I paid for many things needed in the pro­gramme from my own pocket. Be­cause I had a pas­sion for my job, this was not a prob­lem for me as I wanted to see the young­sters flour­ish in the sport.”

Leny­ora said that the sport helped the young­sters cope with many of the so­cial ills they face.

“We prac­tise at the Rood­e­pan cen­tre or at the Love Life cen­tre. This is a great way to keep the young­sters away from drugs and al­co­hol, which is a great con­cern in our com­mu­nity. Sport is a won­der­ful way of ad­dress­ing and fight­ing the so­cial chal­lenges the youth are fac­ing.

Teach­ing

“It is also a way of teach­ing them dis­ci­pline and help­ing them work to­wards a goal. Many do not have pos­i­tive role-mod­els to look up to in the com­mu­nity so we use the lives and back­grounds of sports stars as ex­am­ples to make them re­alise that the im­pos­si­ble is pos­si­ble. Sport has given them hope that they can achieve the same goals as the peo­ple they see on tele­vi­sion.”

He added that he in­tended to fight the depart­ment’s de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate the em­ploy­ment of the EPWP work­ers.

“I have three chil­dren who I have to care for. I do not know how I will pay for all my ex­penses as I can­not go back to my mother’s house. All I have known my whole life is soc­cer and I loved ev­ery sec­ond I spent coach­ing it. I do not know what I will do now. This is heart­break­ing and very frus­trat­ing as I trusted the depart­ment and they are now toss­ing us into the street. I will not let it die here and will take le­gal ac­tion,” said Leny­ora.

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