I have been left with nothing - dept worker
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.
“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.