CORRECTIONAL Services Minister Ronald Lamola has urged pupils to use their God-given skills to grow the economy.

He was speaking during the handover of 1 000 refurbished desks at Habo and Bunny Khosa High School in Ximhungwe, near Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, on Friday.

He was accompanied by Mpumalanga Education MEC Bonakele Majuba, Bohlabela director Lorraine Goba and acting Bushbuckridge mayor Krisjan Mokoena.

The minister said the project formed part of the department’s corporate social investment drive and was achieved after collaboration with the Barberton and Boksburg prisons.

The 1 000 desks were fixed by inmates at those centres.

“Last year I visited the schools in the area and identified broken furniture in six schools and undertook to refurbish the equipment.

“I want to remind pupils that not all of them will be going to university.

“Some must be artisans and boilermakers, or carpenters, because our economy needs this skill to grow.

“But those who want to further their studies at varsity must go. Hand skills jobs are highly needed in South Africa.

“These desks were fixed by offenders, so we want to encourage youth that you can do this wonderful job.

“We believe the future of this country is in the hands of the youth, and with these desks we’re expecting everyone to pass and be leaders of tomorrow.”

Majuba thanked the minister for the desks and urged pupils to take care of them.