Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration Honourable – Peace Mabe,
Honourable Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,
Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee,
Minister in the Presidency: Honourable Jeff Radebe,
Chairperson of the Board of the NYDA- Mr Yershen Pillay,
Members of the Board of the NYDA,
Members of staff present,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen.
This budget vote takes place against the backdrop of the attacks on foreign nationals in our beloved country. We have seen young people at the forefront of these attacks often displaying the most brute behaviour. There can be no justification for this. This is not the South Africa we know. The majority of South Africans are peace loving and want good relations with our brothers and sisters on the continent as was evident in the last few weeks.
We have also seen young South Africans stand up and boldly declare “NOT IN MY NAME”. These young people have courageously said that they will not be silent in the face of attacks on foreign nationals. They will not allow the name of South Africa to be associated with these dastardly acts committed by the few. Young people in the majority have shouted out clearly “WE ARE ALL AFRICANS”.
We applaud them.
We applaud the stability that has returned to our communities and our townships. Government has acted decisively and will continue to do so in order to protect everyone within our borders. The NYDA is developing a programme that will address some of the underlying causes of these attacks as it relates to young. A programme will be announced in this regard linked to our commemoration of Africa Day and June 16.
Speaking last year in his budget vote speech of the Presidency, the President has indicated that our Ministry should mainstream youth development, provide oversight on all youth matters as well as lead government’s effort on youth development. Minister Jeff Radebe has delegated full responsibility of youth affairs to myself. Therefore one of my key responsibilities is to drive the National Youth Policy formulation and implementation as well the mainstreaming of youth development and empowerment in all sectors of society.
The commitment to deal with the challenges facing our youth is contained in the National Youth Policy (NYP) 2020. Conforming to our culture of consultation when designing key policies and programmes, we released the draft National Youth Policy for consultation, inputs and discussions. We received overwhelming responses from all sectors of society.
We reached over 100 000 young people with the #NYP 2020 campaign using social media platforms. We directly engaged youth in provincial, regional and local consultations across the nine provinces. We went to schools, shebeens, taxi ranks, bus stations and workplaces speaking with young people. We met with key youth formations from across our diverse youth sector.
We also received well over 100 written submissions on the NYP 2020 from varied youth voices across the country. The consultations culminated in the National Youth Policy 2020 Consultative Conference where young people were given a further opportunity to help sharpen the NYP 2020 through our dialogue.
Honourable members, allow me to highlight the five key priorities of the National Youth Policy 2020. These five priorities are:
Enabling economic participation and transformation
Facilitating education, skills development and second chances (quality and access)
Health care and combating substance abuse
Facilitating nation building and social cohesion, and
Optimising the youth development machinery
The policy proposals within the NYP 2020 are thoroughly aligned with the NDP 2030 and the declarations within the Freedom Charter. The NYP 2020 proposes an expansion of second chance opportunities for young people to acquire basic education as a stepping stone for decent work and sustainable livelihoods.
There are policy proposals on a mass youth entrepreneurship programme including training young people in skills relevant to agriculture and agro-processing. These proposals are aimed at growing the economy and stimulating entrepreneurship.
The NYP 2020 also includes policy proposals for expanding recreational facilities and diversion programmes including more centres for drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. There are policy proposals for better coordination and implementation of National Youth Service as well as fostering youth leadership for active citizenry.
The NYP 2020 also includes policy proposals for optimising governments youth development machinery for effective delivery and responsiveness as part of the overall effort of developing a capable and developmental state. I have highlighted just a few NYP 2020 policy proposals. There is a clear alignment with the NDP 2030 and the expressions of the Freedom Charter.
The NYP 2020 challenges young people to reimagine youth development through active citizenry. The policy accentuates the understanding that the rights of young people comes with responsibilities of fostering social solidarity and building national cohesion. The NYP 2020 is about giving young people “a hand-up and not a hand-out”
The draft NYP 2020 is with the respective cabinet committees for discussions and decision and subsequently be submitted to cabinet for approval. We expect the NYP2020 to be finalised in June 2015. The department is also overseeing the development of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy. This strategy document will give practical expression to the implementation of the NYP 2020.
I have started meeting with Youth Directorates of government departments to ensure that the commitments within the NYP 2020 find expression within the Annual Performance Plans of the departments. This will ensure mainstreaming of youth development and better coordination.
We are currently working on amendments to the NYDA Act. We will bring the draft NYDA Amendment bill to Parliament for review and approval. These amendments are geared towards ensuring that the NYDA works more effectively and will give expression to the NYP 2020.
Honourable members, the NYDA continues to provide much needed youth development services to the young women and men of our country. Young people have to be creators of jobs and not only job seekers. This is the primary reason for the NYDA’s grant programme for young entrepreneurs. It is designed to minimise risk and to stimulate youth entrepreneurship uptake. The NYDA has disbursed R28 million through its grant funding programme to support the new start up entrepreneurs and to help current young businesses to further their ambitions. This has led to 741 youth owned enterprises being created and 4 189 new and sustainable direct jobs for the 2014-2015 Financial Year.
Through its YouthBuild programme, the NYDA invested R10 million to assist 2 512 participants. This was attained through its partnerships with the Department of Human Settlements, the Department of Public Works, and various local government municipalities.
This programme is a multi-faceted involving skills development, education, national youth service and leadership empowerment. Young people obtain scarce artisan skills linked to the construction industry while also giving back to their communities by building houses for those who are less fortunate.
The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund, which was launched by the President in March 2014, continues to do well with a success rate of over 70%, in its first year of implementation. This programme now supports 300 young people in Higher Education and Training Institutions.
This notable success has been attained with the support received from the National Department of Higher Education and Training as well as the National Skills Fund. Honourable members, indeed the “the doors of learning and culture are being opened for all”.
The NYDA’s governance continues to improve. The agency has significantly reduced its irregular expenditure from R16 million to just R500 000. This was achieved through improved financial controls as well as disciplinary measures against those who breach regulations. The Agency is currently working on a plan to close off the loan book by the end of the 2015/16 financial year bringing an end to this chapter of its history.
The agency has taken serious steps to reduce its high salary bill and is in the process of an organisational redevelopment programme. The first phase promises to reduce the salary bill and operational costs by R34 million. Further savings are expected in forthcoming phases. The savings will be reinvested into critical youth development programmes.
The agency’s turnaround strategy promises better and faster implementation of youth development including a more responsive NYDA. I will continue to make unannounced visits to NYDA branches to ensure that they provide quality services that are due to young people.
In this financial Year (2015-16), the NYDA has been allocated R409.8 million to be used for the delivery of youth development services. However I must emphasise that youth development is the responsibility of the entire government. The NYDA must coordinate this work.
Honourable members, one of the key mandates of the department is to ensure that the quality of services provided to our people continues on a positive upward trajectory.
It is our conviction that the impact of government services must be seen and felt at the coalface of service delivery. We will continue conducting unannounced and follow-up monitoring visits of frontline service delivery facilities such as social grant distribution sites, schools, clinics, police stations, courts, drivers’ license centres, municipal customer care centres and home affairs offices.
In the 2014-15 financial year budget speech, we set ourselves a target of conducting 90 unannounced visits to new frontline service sites and 120 follow-up visits to check if agreed improvements have been implemented. Allow me to report that at the close of the financial year, we had visited 123 new facilities and conducted 122 re-visits.
The analysis of the results of the follow-up visits shows that in 65% of the cases, facilities managers have acted on the recommendations for improvements and whilst in others, the culture of problem solving has been poor.
Recently, in one of my unannounced visits at Mabopane Drivers Licences Testing Centre (DLTC) a few weeks ago, we found that the staff did not have name tags, the supervisors were not at work, and the queue management was also not functional. We will conduct follow-up visits to determine the progress made in respect of the observations we made.
The Presidential Hotline continues to provide the Department with valuable data in our monitoring activities. To date we have recorded 207 000 complaints through the Presidential Hotline which is an increase from the 190 000 complaints and queries that was recorded last year. Of these cases, 94% are recorded as being resolved.
Last year, we said that the department has been hard at work to support the institutionalisation of citizen-based monitoring in government. CBM is now in full swing. The pilot has to date involved 18 frontline facilities with over 12 000 citizen interviews and more than 750 staff surveys being conducted. The frontline facilities have included police stations, health facilities, South African Social Security Agency and Department of Social Development service points.
The budget allocated to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation for the 2015/16 financial year is R717.7 million. Of this amount, R414.5 million is allocated to national youth development. This includes a transfer payment to the National Youth Development Agency of R409.8 million
Honourable Members, we recognise that 21 years on, South Africa is a better place to live in than it was before 1994. We however, acknowledge that despite these achievements, our freedoms as espoused in the Freedom Charter will remain a pipe dream for the majority of our people unless we shift gears to intensify our struggles against poverty, unemployment and inequality.
I appeal to all of us, government, labour, business and civil society to create an environment where young people have an opportunity to be employed and empowered. The future of our country depends on our youth. Youth development is everyone’s responsibility.
I thank you!
SOURCE: South African Official News