Praise for the sugar industry

The Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (Sifte) has awarded bursaries to the value of R2,9 million to 45 students from sugarcane-growing communities to study engineering and agriculture.

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“I salute South Africa’s sugar industry,” said Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC for economic development and tourism, at an event held to mark the occasion. “By providing bursaries to deserving students, it creates brighter prospects and sustainability in its own industry.”

Mabuyakhulu said the sugar industry was also providing an economic stimulus for growth by contributing towards training the youth and addressing the skills shortage.

“Innovation is a key component for economic growth and development, but this requires a broad and relevant formal education. We must invest in education today to get an innovative economy. However, it’s not only the responsibility of government – there is a collective responsibility.”

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Dr Blade Nzimande, minister of higher education and training, said, “We have 8 million 18-to-24-year-olds in South Africa. Nearly 3 million of them are unemployed, not educated, or in training. This is an extraordinary waste of talent and human capability. We are making concerted efforts to address this problem,” he said.

Dr Nzimande said he would return to the SA Sugar Association to discuss bigger partnerships in the province. “We need to get proper coordination between universities and training colleges, employers, labour, and sector education and training authorities to jointly tackle education.”