Two weeks ago, I visited Solidarity headquarters and Sol-Tech. Solidarity is a labour union and movement that owns Sol-Tech, a new technology college campus in Monument Park, Pretoria. This was at the invitation of a fine gentleman, the CEO of Solidarity, Dirk Hermann.
The visit was a thrilling experience, I must say. I learned a lot about the structures of the Solidarity movement and its functions. Over lunch, Dirk briefed me on the new Sol-Tech campus – how it came about - and what the future plans are by Solidarity. And the future plans are big, as they want to build a new university campus.
Sol-Tech “is an accredited, private vocational training college based on Christian values and uses Afrikaans as a medium of instruction”, their website explains. The college's specialisation is on scarce skills in the field of technology. These are the skills that South Africa is in desperate need of at this time.
With my visit, I wanted to understand how Sol-Tech was established and how it works on a basic level. I like it, because it is a private institution built by Solidarity members, not a government institution.
Dirk told me that Solidarity members who contributed membership fees to the building of the college get first priority on admissions – which instantly made sense to me. But he did stress that every South African can apply to the college; but when it comes to admissions, Solidarity members come first.
What is also moving about Sol-Tech, is that it was built ahead of schedule and under budget. Unlike government projects that waste taxpayer’s money by theft and misallocations, and miss their schedule. With this completed, remarkable new project, Solidarity and its members have done a brilliant job in advancing South Africa’s education.