The Internship Program Director last week addressed all Interns whose contracts have reached and gone beyond 24 months at the Big 5 Lodge in Mogoditshane.
The interns were informed that their contracts will be terminated end of September 2011.
“We have been told that we have just only a month as our grace period before the contracts are terminated,” said one of the dejected interns.
The interns are of the opinion that the internship programme has abused them and forfeited the mission to transfer skills to them.
“We were promised that this system would be a window to acquire employment, now it is something else.”
They said that they have always raised complains about the system and even requested by letter to meet the superiors but nothing was done.
“All that we see is intimidation of us,” said another intern who also refused to be named.
Amongst them was an intern at CEDA at Kanye, Tsheko Maikano, who said that the programme is now like it has wasted their time which they could have used elsewhere and get hired.
“What I will only do is to try and negotiate with CEDA that because the contract is coming to an end why don’t they give the P1800 then I continue with serving at their company than terminate me,” said Maikano.
He said they want to meet and network with interns and find a way out.
The concerned interns went as far as calling Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, Dumelang Saleshando, before they left the meeting.
They reported to him that termination of their contracts came as a shock to them.
Saleshando asked them if they were not aware of the period of contract and they told him that some among them had gone for 30 months in the programme.
“We thought maybe they would extend,” they answered.
They told Saleshando that some of them had been absorbed in the system for a permanent job but they do not know how.
They went on to say that they had never been evaluated and all they see is being shifted from one department to another while they do not learn anything.
“We have not been assessed whether we are doing well or not but we are being taken out of the system,” they said.
In response, Saleshando told them that this was not an issue that could be dealt with overnight and said he would arrange and check the facts.
“The system could only work if the economy creates jobs, the reason may be because the economy does not create jobs,” said Saleshando. “I do not want to create any impression about anything.”
He said the system had been badly structured, adding that the interns cannot run for 24 months without evaluation.
“This may even cause frustration to the incoming interns. This has been a rushed programme,” said Saleshando.
He said the programme is not adding any value because the Government is not getting any returns. He said even the interns cannot tell what they learnt.
Saleshando said the interns are not getting jobs because they do not have certain skills which they could have acquired in the same programme.
“Even if the programme could run for 5 years we would still be where we had started.”
Some of the interns who had gone to complain to the Office of the President were ordered to put it in writing.
Efforts made to reach the Internship Public Relations Officer were thwarted as the office alleged that the issue was an internal issue and not for the public or media.