81 interns are still without GCRA stipends

The Gauteng City Region Academy has failed to pay the monthly stipends to 81 youngsters undertaking internship programmes at TVET colleges.

GCRA, an entity under the Gauteng Department of Education responsible for facilitating bursaries, internships, and guidance programmes, has only paid stipends to 69 out of 150 interns since June.

The department blames systematic delays for failing to process interns’ stipends on time.

This information was revealed in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, the GCRA is not facing financial challenges. The only challenge is the delays in the processing of vendor numbers by the SAP system, which is regulated by the Treasury.

The interns are from Ekurhuleni West TVET College, Ekurhuleni East TVET College, Sedibeng TVET College, Southwest Gauteng TVET College, Central Johannesburg TVET College, and Western TVET College.

MEC Chiloane says that GCRA will introduce an online attendance system to regulate and manage the payment of stipends. It is a step in the right direction; however, the department must be well-prepared for possible system glitches.

The MEC has indicated that all late payments are being processed but has not committed to the day of payment. This has negative impact on the youth participating in this programme. Many of them contacted the DA for assistance.

The DA demands that MEC Chiloane urgently commits to a payment backlog date. The DA will continue to put pressure on MEC Chiloane to speed up the stipend payments.