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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

‘Our attempts are real’ – Panyaza addresses fresh Nasi Ispani ‘scam’ claims

'Those who are benefiting out of these programs will be the one to talk, not us,' says Lesufi.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi has once again found himself on the defensive after being accused of “scamming” unemployed youth with his job programmes.

Lesufi and Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi launched a mass skills training programme at the Nasrec Expo Centre over the weekend, aimed at uplifting unemployed people.

ALSO READ: ActionSA’s allegations that Lesufi is using Nasi Ispani to hire ANC cadres ‘fantasies’

The initiative, iCrush ne Lova Jobs and Skills Programme, expands on the Nasi Ispani Programme launched in 2023.

About 500,000 people will benefit from the program.

“We will not send regret letters to applicants who are not selected for a position. Instead, we will find ways to absorb them,” said Lesufi.

“We are not taking under 100,000, we are not taking under 200,000, we are not taking under 400,000; we are taking almost 500,000 unemployed people out of poverty and placing them on the path of human development.”

ALSO READ: Lesufi responds to ‘grandstanding’ on jobs programme

According to Nxesi, his department will invest R8.2 billion in the joint program.

Last October, the province officially launched the project for free learner’s licenses for disadvantaged youth, allowing young people between the ages of 17 and 34 to take a learner’s license test at no cost.

However, Lesufi’s programmes have faced criticism from politicians and citizens alike, who have accused him of using the programmes as a PR stunt for the ruling party.

ALSO READ: Gauteng MEC Jacob Mamabolo says ‘Nasi Ispani’ has nothing to do with elections

Responding to critics, Lesufi emphasised that Gauteng’s job programmes were not scams.

“Remember those who hate our work have the right to also criticise us. We soldier on to better the lives of those who believe in us without fear, favour or prejudice.

“The campaign to delegitimise our efforts won’t succeed. It’s better to criticise us for doing something than accuse us of sleeping on the job! Our attempts are real. You may choose to condemn us, it’s your choice! Less talk, more work,” said Lesufi.

He urged his supporters to ignore the criticism,

“Leave them alone, it’s a nice way to manage their feelings. We are vulgar proof. We move! Those who are benefiting from these programs will be the ones to talk, not us.”

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employment Panyaza Lesufi poverty Thulas Nxesi