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Peace Corps to help communities

In an effort to build a sense of national identity and foster civic responsibility, the City of Ekurhuleni has launched a programme aimed at promoting community safety and by-law enforcement using young, unemployed residents

The Peace Corps volunteer programme has already seen the recruitment of 100 participants who have been trained and placed in wards across the municipality.

Hosted under the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD), the programme will see 1010 volunteers enlisted as volunteers by the end of 2014.

They will be enrolled at the EMPD training academy and will receive basic training to equip them for their duties.

Those duties will, at this point, mainly be scholar patrol, by-law enforcement and educational campaigns.

The programme equips unemployed youngsters with skills and experience in the area of law enforcement with the aim of enhancing their employability and motivating them to extend their knowledge in pursuing careers in the field.

According to the Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for community safety, Mthuthuzeli Siboza, the fundamental goal of the project is to make Ekurhuleni a safer place to stay in by training young people in the community who will serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcers, helping to rid the city of various social ills within its communities.

“The EMPD Peace Corps programme not only serves as a community defence mechanism, but will also aid the city to make a difference in addressing the alarming unemployment rate,” said Siboza.

The recruitment of the 1010 volunteers is ward-based, and 10 youngsters in each ward will be signed for a period of 24 months. A total of 100 recruits have already been trained and placed in their wards, another 250 will be taken by the end of September, December and March respectively. The last 150 will join between April and June 2014.

Peace Corps volunteer, Johannes Matlabe, says the programme has brought about positive changes in his life in a small amount of time.

“We are learning how to maintain peace and order in our communities, as well as other valuable life skills, like how to serve in a respectful manner,” said Matlabe.

Executive Mayor Clr Mondli Gungubele first announced the initiative during his State of the City Address in March, stating that R78-million would go towards the implementation of the programme.

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