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About 20 000 youth will be trained on various skills as part of the National Youth Service, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced today during her Department’s Budget Vote.

“The proposed National Youth Service is intended to play a key role in dealing with the consequences of youth unemployment and contribute to the national goal of poverty eradication,” she said.

She added that the service will not offer training for military engagement, but will draw on the potential of military training to promote discipline, self esteem and sense of belonging to the national community.

“We have currently embarked on the identification, upgrading and refurbishment of some of our training facilities and at the beginning of next year we will have completed our preparations,” said Sisulu.

Sisulu also added that her department will now manage all of its assets previously managed by the Department of Public Works.

As part of self managing its assets the department is currently renovating many of its barracks to be worthy of living soldiers.

Provision of high quality, reliable and right sized accommodation for soldiers Sisulu said is her singularly most urgent priority.

“However I need to stress that it is the responsibility of every soldier to ensure that the environment where they stay represents their sense of pride,” added Sisulu.

Earlier on during a media briefing Sisulu told journalists that more ten rhino poachers have been killed to date by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) while patrolling the country’s borders.

She said her department was working tirelessly to curb the increasing rate of rhino killings however budgetary constrains made it difficult to patrol all borders.

“While we are doing all our best to protect our borders and ensure that our rhino’s are protected from criminals we have noticed that poachers are now moving from targeting areas such as the Kruger National Park to private game reserves where we have no force deployed.

An increased budget, she added, will ensure that all borders are protected accordingly.

She added that the current global economic environment that continues to be robust and uncertain, resulting in pressures being exerted on Defence budgets across the world.

“This requires that we continue to seek to achieve higher levels of efficiency in all our operations and more precise targeting towards the achievement of our key priorities, though we must add that the Defence budget cannot afford to take further cuts” she said.

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