The existence of the Special Programmes is based on Chapter 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), White Paper on Local Government (1998) and other many pieces of legislations and government policies which promote the wellbeing of all vulnerable population groups. The specific mandate of the Special Programmes Unit is to spearhead the mainstreaming of all programmes aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable groups (youth, women, children, people with disabilities and elderly) in order to ensure that the District Municipality complies with the constitution of South Africa, Bill of Rights, policies and other pieces of legislations. This includes the implementation of sustainable programmes in collaboration with other stakeholders. The Unit is administratively under Executive Mayoral Services Directorate under the stewardship of the Executive Mayor of District Council.
Synopsis of Socio-economic analysis
O.R. Tambo District Municipality generally lacks a major economic base. This is attributed to the fact that a focus is put on implementation of fragmented non-economically viable projects. Strategies need to be implemented to improve the situation as there may be further decline in the economic performance of this economic region of the Province of the Eastern Cape.
The government sector is the largest contributor to Gross Geographical Product. Mthatha is the largest town and economic hub of the District Municipality yet, it is dependent mostly on wholesale and retails. Both sectors that have very little growth potential and have little to offer towards needed employment opportunities, however, the role played by the two sectors is very important. Agriculture is predominantly subsistence and the potential of commercial agriculture is undermined by lack of infrastructure as well as training and financial support for local aspirant farmers. Another area that has hitherto been underdeveloped into locally owned areas of economic growth are tourism, Mari-culture and agro-forestry. Additional factors that undermine investment in the area include but not limited to; limited skills base; limited access to tertiary education, crime rate; poor developed road infrastructure and non-existent rail infrastructure to connect the region to nearby seaports; difficult access to land with economic potential due to complicated land tenure system and associated high prices of property; and generally poor infrastructural support for business and industrial development. Social grant dependency is high.
SPECIAL PROGRAMMES SUB SECTIONS
The South African youth development sector is regulated by the legislation and other government policies. These policies provide broad guidelines that serve as guiding principles for the formulation and implementation of youth policies at the municipal level.
TERTIARY EDUCATION FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (BURSARY)
This is an intervention initiative to assist extremely impoverished families with children displaying good academic potential. They are assisted to further their studies with the intension that they will eventually improve their families’ socio-economic livelihoods. The financial support covers the following essential needs of needy students: tuition, lodging, meals text books, stationery and transport. Since the beginning of the programme in 2006, at least 216 learners have benefited, not less than 110 have completed their studies and are now working and some are still at home due to lack of employment. The support mainly focuses in the following study fields: Medicine (MBcHB, Nursing, Bsc) Civil / Electrical Engineering / Mining Engineering, Accounting, Environmental Studies, Education, Sports Administration, Electronics, Finance, IT/Computer Science, Local Government and Project Management. This does not mean that applications that fall out of the above list should not be submitted. In this current year (2016) there are 76 students that being supported. Applicants who are already studying at tertiary institutions are not the main target.
How to apply for Tertiary Education Bursary