The struggle kids conundrum

24 January 2020 | Opinion

The issue of struggle kids being prioritised for cleaner and labourer jobs has again reared its ugly head in the form of ongoing protests at Outjo.

A five-hour meeting earlier this week reached deadlock on the issue of nine struggle kids being appointed at the town at public institutions, while residents say the jobless rate at Outjo is sky-high and local young people are battling to secure any form of employment.

The matter was referred to the Kunene governor Marius Sheya’s office for an intervention.

This is not the first time that local residents have complained about struggle kids being favoured when it comes to public-sector jobs.

Residents of Okakarara, Okamatapati and Coblenz in the Otjozondjupa Region last year demonstrated against government deploying 13 struggle kids in different settlements where they work as cleaners and labourers.

In 2018 it was announced that the education ministry had reserved 143 positions for cleaners within its directorates across all regions for struggle kids.

The directive sparked protests by 100 young people at Tses, who demanded that the positions be frozen and that appropriate requirements be attached for local residents to apply and also get a fair chance.

At the marathon meeting at Outjo earlier this week, Kunene health director Thomas Shapumba said five cleaner vacancies at the local hospital, which formed part of the nine public-sector jobs that caused all the furore, were filled by the struggle kids as per a cabinet decision. He added that struggle kids were being given equal treatment to marginalised communities in the country.

However, this may be difficult to swallow for other young people who are also unemployed and who want to be given a fair shake at applying for these posts. It is highly inflammatory to suggest that because of history one young person deserves an opportunity over another. This powder keg needs to be dealt with by those in power as a matter of urgency.

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