In pursuit of its Vision 2030 of making the Greater Oudtshoorn an educational and training hub, the Oudtshoorn Municipality’s leadership held discussions with the Provincial MEC for Education, Debbie Schäfer to solicit the Department’s support.
The Minister was accompanied by her provincial and district management in a meeting also attended by Education and Training Working Group, representatives from the Department of Social Development, Oudtshoorn Municipal councilors and officials.
The Greater Oudtshoorn already boasts with many national training and educational institutions such as the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Infantry School, the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) training institute, Nursing College and South Cape College among others. The Greater Oudtshoorn, however, wants to be the home of education and training in the Eden District.
The talks between the Municipality and the Western Cape Department of Education were led by the Executive Mayor, Cllr. Colan Sylvester. “The Department of Education owns a number of properties that are either underutilized or not utilized, these buildings could be of help to initiate either community development projects or education and training institutions,” Mayor Sylvester told the Minister Schafer.
The Mayor added: “Last week, we received two international visits from the United States of America intending to establish an African Bible College (ABC) and a drug rehabilitation center; this certainly inspires our dream even further.”
In her response to the Municipality, Minister Schäfer said: “What you are doing is very much exciting, you certainly can rely on our support; we are thrilled to see how the Council rejuvenates the town; we also welcome the great initiatives the Oudtshoorn Council has come up with.”
“We’ll go back and carefully consider the proposals and decide whether to relinquish some of our properties to the Public Works Department or not, further discussions are necessary to take this matter further,” said Schäfer
The discussions were preceded by site visits to some buildings in town owned by the Western Cape Departments of Education and Public Works. One of the sites visited, was a land which has already allocated by Council for a building of a primary and high school in Rosevalley. Another visit was also undertaken to the old teacher’s college hostels known as “Opleidings Kollege Suik-Kaap (OKSK)” in Bridgton, which had been vandalized over the years, but is now earmarked by the Municipality as an Apprenticeship Academy Facility.
The third site was the Kairos School in Oostelike Road earmarked as a Teachers’ Training Facility in partnership with University of South Africa (UNISA)/South Cape College.