Speech by Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane on occasion of the celebration of National Youth Day, Wolfson Stadium, Kwazakhele Township, Port Elizabeth
16 June 2012Programme Director
Premier of the Eastern Cape Province, Ms Noxolo Kievits
MEC for Social Development, Ms P Majodine
Members of the Executive Council present
Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Councillor Z Wayile
Chairperson and Members of the NYDA provincial advisory board
Chief Executive Officer of the NYDA
Members of the traditional authorities present
Progressive youth structures present
Young People whom we are celebrating today
Ladies and Gentlemen
The father of our nation and the son of this province, President Nelson Mandela, once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” The youth of 1976 understood this and it was for that reason that on this day 36 years ago, young people from communities around Soweto began a peaceful march with the intention to voice their views about the state of their education.
The June 16, 1976 peaceful march was their contribution towards changing the political landscape in South Africa and eventually changing the world. The uprisings extended across the country including the Eastern Cape where we are gathered today.
Today as we commemorate National Youth Day, we should pay tribute to the youth of 1976 for their role in fighting for the freedoms we enjoy. We should honour them and all of our young freedom fighters that lost their lives, their youth and their livelihood in the struggle to attain a united South Africa, which we can all be proud of.
We should honour them, not only in words, but also through positive deeds. Yours as the current generation is to take those struggles forward, informed by the conditions of today. There is no better way to confront your challenges than to confront them head on. But you must do this with a sole purpose of taking all our people out of poverty, inequality and create much needed jobs for them to be economically liberated. Of-course this should be informed by a proper analysis of those challenges and a clear plan on the approach to be undertaken. Most importantly you must be united as young people of all races towards your common goal.
We are aware as government that despite the progress we have made since the dawn of our democracy, more challenges remain. More young people still need to access economic opportunities as presented by our democratic state. Young people need improved access to quality education and skills in order to meaningfully participate in the economy.
It is our conviction that youth development is a responsibility for every department and sphere of government. This however does not discard the responsibility of all in our society to address the plight of young people.
Government had done well to do its part to address the plight of young people. Through the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, the Department of Arts and Culture will use the arts and culture sector’s to make a contribution to create five million jobs by 2020 under the New Growth Path. The strategy includes the Public Art Programme, where youth will receive art classes before the Department employs them in towns to beautify their respective communities through art. Along with the establishment of an Art Bank which will create 10 000 new work opportunities over the next three years.
The department will roll out five cultural precincts and information centres which are being piloted in five major cities and which are expected to create more than 2 000 new work opportunities. With the reintroduction of arts education in schools, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education will create 3 000 new work opportunities over the next three years.
The Department of Defence and Military Veterans, through the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) continues to provide work and training opportunities to thousands of young people. This year a total of over 6 500 recruits will be placed, with over 4 000 in next financial year and almost 4 500 in the outer year. Through the National Youth Service programme 20 000 unemployed youth will be recruited and turned into disciplined and empowered young people. The programme is due to begin in 2013.
As a contribution to Government’s fight on the eradication of poverty through the creation of employment, the Department of Environmental Affairs has continued with an intensified implementation of the Expanded Public Work Programme (EPWP) for the Environment Sector. A total of 459 young people from various communities have also benefited from the Departmental component of the National Youth Service. This year the Department will train 206 unemployed youth on environmental management to be placed in municipalities. Additional 500 young people are targeted in 12 identified protected areas. Another 100 young people will be trained and assisted to formulate a registered joint venture to be able to bid for the provision of services in the Department.
Through the Department of Human Settlements the YouthBuild Project was implemented in Ivory Park where youth and stakeholders constructed 76 houses to commemorate the 1976 youth uprisings. Yesterday, 100 young people who build 100 houses for the elderly in Kirkwood just outside Port Elizabeth were celebrated for their work.
The YouthBuild programme is a partnership project between the National Youth Development Agency, Human Settlements Department working with provinces and municipalities. This volunteer project provides youth with skills in construction and is provided with certificates of participation.
Through the Department of Higher Education the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has ensured that loans and bursaries to poor students have been expanded substantially over the last three years, and funds made available to students grew from R2.375 billion in 2008 to R6 billion in 2011.
Through the Department of Public Enterprises, there are currently 9 000 learners enrolled in training processes in the State Owned Enterprises, the bulk of which is related to scarce and critical skills. In total there are over 2 200 engineering, 1 000 technicians and over 4200 artisan students. The plan is to increase artisans from SOE training facilities by 60% to 6 780 students for the coming year. Transnet plans to increase present enrolment of 500 artisans to 1 500 artisans. Eskom intends providing apprenticeship to 10 000 young people in its pipeline, up from 4 500, and implementing a youth programme to support about 5 000 young people to find their way into employment by 2015.
The National Rural Youth Service Corps (the Narysec), which was launched in 2011 by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, with an initial 7900 participants, of which 4500 have either received or are in the process of completing training in various disciplines, mainly in the construction sector. About 855 have been trained in records management, and are currently scanning and counting land claims files in all provinces; and, about eighty (80), with maths and geography, have been trained in disaster management, for placement in municipalities.
Working in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education and Training, through the National Skills Development Fund, the department secured an additional R190m for the current financial year. These additional resources will enable increased enrolment from the current 8041 to a total of 15,000 participants by the end of this financial year. Government has also been progressively increasing bursary support for Further Education and Training (FET) College students from R 318 million in 2010 to R1, 235 billion in 2011. This year, bursaries for FET students amount to a whooping R 1,7 billion.
The Department Tourism has many successful social responsibility implementation (SRI) programmes, with particular mention to the Young Chefs training programme, which was launched and implemented last year as part of the department’s EPWP Social Responsibility Initiative. To date, 545 young persons have graduated as chefs and 120 have already been placed with established hospitality institutes, such as hotels, bed-and-breakfast establishments and restaurants. Altogether 300 of the 545 have been enrolled for second-level training, and, owing to the success of the programme, another 500 young people have been enrolled for the first time.
In a bid to assist youth in correctional centres, the Department of Correctional Services developed programmes and services to enhance their opportunities for development. These include education programmes for Further Education and Training for grades 10 to 12 and Higher Education and Learning. The young people are also provided with skills development programmes such as entrepreneurial, computer, vocational, engineering skills including National Certificate vocational prorgramme.
The infrastructure build programme which is coordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Commission and the awarding of the majority of the Square Kilometer Area, provides us with an opportunity to create employment and training especially for young people. We must seize these opportunities.
Government throughout is running a series of internship and learnership programmmes to give young people opportunities to get experience. These are some of the programmes of government for youth empowerment. However, these are still a drop in the ocean and more still needs to be done.
As government we have also been developing policies, plans and programmes to assist in the development of young people, one such plan is the National Development Plan for South Africa. The national budget continues to support job creation, with a particular focus on unemployed youth. Through the prioritisation of infrastructure development, government has already assisted in job creation as it has become one of the biggest employers in the country.
Ladies and gentlemen, government investment on youth development should not and cannot be limited to the NYDA budget. Government investment in young people should take place at all levels of government and in every state institution and the private sector.
Government has received the draft of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy (IYDS) and State of South African Youth Report, produced by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), these reports are in the process of being processed and will be presented to Parliament.
Ladies and gentlemen, youth development is not and should not be the responsibility of government alone. Nor should only be left to the NYDA, it is responsibility of business, labour, civil society and all spheres of government. We make clarion call for the private sector and all sectors of society to do their part to address the plight of young people.
Young people also have a critical role to play in the country’s economy and in making the NYDA work. It is therefore also your responsibility as young people to keep the NYDA accountable; the NYDA is your organization use it. The NYDA, in turn, must represent and champion your interests.
The young people are faced with many challenges and must remain focused and resolute to face these challenges head on. The young people of today are facing challenges of drug abuse and different forms of violence.
The young people of our country are being exploited in the community protests for service delivery because of their vulnerability. We call on young people to resist this exploitation and focus on their education and uplifting their lives. You should rather play a significant role in uplifting your communities than destroying it through the violent protests we have witnessed in recent times. Youth structures within our society should mobilize young people towards a greater change in communities and build a prosperous society.
The current debate on young unemployment is misplaced and should not be allowed an opportunity to exploit the plight of young people of our country. The unemployment of young people in our society is a real issue that requires responsible leadership. We call on all involved in the discussions of the youth wages to discuss the matter in a responsible manner and finalise the discussions so that the process should be taken forward.
The NYDA as a custodian for youth development in our country, has been doing well, however the current perceptions of non performance and poor governance are destroying the spirit of young people who want to use the service of the NYDA. These matters must be address immediately working with all youth structures in the country. The NYDA exist to serve all young people in the country despite their political affiliation, race, gender and sexual orientation.
The NYDA currently does not have a board to properly direct its work, Parliament is in the process of appointing a new board. However, once the new board is appointed it must immediately address the challenges of this organization so that young people are not disadvantaged by these challenges.
In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge and thank the first NYDA Board of Directors for their sterling contribution. They are Executive Chairperson, Mr. Andile Lungisa, Deputy Executive Chairperson, Mr. Yershen Pillay, Mr. Francois Slabber, Ms. Innocentia Motau, Ms. Maria Tshabalala, Mr. Mcebo Khumalo and Ms. Pholisa Makeleni. It was under this Board’s leadership that a new organization was born with new mandate and vision.
I would also like to thank the Premier Kievits and the Executive Council including the NYDA for arranging today celebrations.
Ladies and Gentlemen, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” Heed President Mandela’s words and make education a key priority in your lives. Education is also key to your economic emancipation. We are also calling on you to be active citizens in building your communities. The future of our country depends on all of us. You need to claim your space now, and channel your energies towards positive initiatives that will make South Africa succeed.
Let us all work together to Build Infrastructure and Fight Youth Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality.
I thank you