Deputy Minister Buti Manamela: Social Development Youth Camp

Programme Director

Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu

MEC for Social Development in the Northern Cape, Mxolisi Sokatsha

MEC for Social Development in the Eastern Cape, Nancy Sihlwayi

Executive Mayor of Francis Baard Municipality, Cllr Kgadi Moloi

Heads of Departments

The campers, young people

Welcome to the Camp of 2014. I must tell you that I am a product of a social development youth camp. You are privileged as young people that out of a cohort of about 20.1 million of young people between the ages of 14-35, you could attend this camp. Government through this camp aims to enable youth from the very diverse cultures of the people of this country to interact, to acknowledge each other’s humanity and to truly live, celebrate and understand fully, one of the fundamental values of our country “unity in diversity”.

The significance of these words etched forever in our coat of arms was eloquently explained by our icon, President Nelson Mandela in July 1997 during a visit to Jakarta. He said “Unity in Diversity” is a phrase we use often in South Africa, a country of widely diverse peoples and cultures. These differences were misused by apartheid in order to divide our nation. But today our diversity is a source of strength. We are a nation of many colours and cultures, but forming a harmonious unity like a rainbow after a heavy storm.”

This Camp also aims to impart life skills and leadership attributes for you to practice long after leaving this place, ably passing onto your friends at home what you have learnt here.

What is happening here today is part of the bigger agenda of transforming society as envisaged in the National Development Plan. It is of fundamental importance that the country has inspirational leadership at all levels of society, amongst the young and amongst the old, amongst people living in rural areas and amongst the urbanites. ALL OF US!

Practicing leadership wherever you are should be your motto. Without effective leadership all the plans of the NDP will not be reached and the aspirations of a changed society will be deferred.

Because we are the future we need to learn these attributes. We must say, “Do as I do”.

Guided by the Constitution the NDP further illustrates the type of leadership required for contributing towards the building a democratic, non-sexist, non-racial, prosperous and egalitarian society. It says this desired leadership should be characterised by:

“The ability to lead by example and to follow rules that apply to everyone

Honesty, integrity and trustworthiness

Able to hold fast to a core set of values as enshrined in the Constitution with embracing change and agitating for transformation

The capacity to innovate, manage change, build enough support to drive an “essential” and not necessarily popular agenda, communicating with people, keeping them interested and informed

The ability to listen, especially to those with a different opinion, perspective and or priorities

Create conditions that allow everyone to communicate in open dialogue. This requires tolerance, patience, openness to giving and receiving criticism, a willingness to admit mistakes, and an ability to re-examine one’s own presuppositions

Ability to promote meaningful inclusion, helping to overcome barriers associated with class, ethnicity, gender, disability and other factors of exclusion

Leaders must seek to empower the otherwise powerless, building bridges to other sectors of society, including business, civil society, and faith-based communities, as well as to all levels of government.”

It is this visionary leadership that needs to be built and nurtured among the youth, in order to sustain the agenda of transforming the South African society into a vibrant economy and democracy. That is why you are here.

The National Development Plan further suggests that another ingredient very necessary for the Constitutional vision of an egalitarian and prosperous society to be realised, is an active citizenry. The country needs young people to put their shoulders to the wheel and build for themselves the country they desire.

Be the change that you want to see said Minister Sisulu on Monday talking to young people such as yourselves who are very busy building houses for indigent families; the Youth Build Programme. Again you very fortunate young people in this camp will be encouraged to give and contribute to various community based initiatives projects and you will be equipped with the tools to do so. Government does NOT believe that youth should be passive recipients of government resources; rather we believe the youth should be active champions of their own development.

Government will create opportunities for the youth to be the best that they can be. As I have announced in various public platforms, government is providing numerous opportunities for young people to thrive in spite of the various challenges you face. Some of the existing government sponsored youth initiatives include the Youth Employment Accord of 2013 which was signed by business, government, labour, civil society and NGOs.

The accord aims at improving the skilling of and placement of young people as well as generally making the economy sensitive to the employment needs of young people. Initiatives in the public and private sector to match workers seekers to available jobs are run by the Department of Labour, NYDA and Harambee. The DTI/Department of Small Business Development launched a Youth Enterprise Development Strategy (YEDS) to promote mass youth enterprise development through a range of mechanism including provide collateral grant-funding to youth owed companies. The NYDA has for many years implemented programmes to support youth enterprises with finance, training and market linkages.

Learning from great leaders such as Oliver Thambo who said a nation “A nation that does not care of its youth has no future and does not deserve one” government has gone even further and has pledged through various policy document including white papers and the National Development Plan that it aspires that the TVET sector should cover about 25 percent of the age-relevant cohort, implying an increase from about 300 000 to 1, 25 million by 2030; NFSAS must be expanded to automatically cover all poor children and be a full scholarship to be repaid back via the tax system so that it becomes like a revolving fund.

The National Development Plan also talks of a government that will provide a subsidy to the placement sector to identify, prepare and place matric graduates into work. The subsidy will be paid upon successful placement.

Second chances will be provided for young people to complete education so that they are able to compete in the open labour market – by promoting vocational training programmes as well as other initiatives such as the National Youth Service and Expanded Public Works Programmes as a basis for gaining further learning and work experience, ensuring better response to the skills demand by fast-racking the functioning of Community Education and Training Centres through government and the private sectors’ flexible initiatives of out-of-school pathways for young people who left school prematurely so as to complete their secondary education and obtain their National Senior Certificate.

TVET colleges need to target business skills, incubation and mentoring of budding entrepreneurs in high growth industries and future industries;

One of the obstacles to young people reaching the pinnacle of their potential is drug abuse. Government through this very department that has organised this camp is driving an anti-substance abuse strategy that aims at:

Providing recreational facilities and diversion programmes that prevent vulnerable populations from becoming substance abusers/dependents

Reducing the availability of dependence-forming substances/drugs, including alcoholic beverages

Implementing Multi-disciplinary and multi-model protocols and practices for integrated diagnosis and treatment of substance dependence and co-occurring disorders

Harmonising and enforcing laws and policies to facilitate effective governance of the supply chain with regard to alcohol and other drugs

Enforcing municipality bylaws dealing with restricting access to alcohol

Creating Job opportunities in the field of combating substance abuse.

Lastly I want to also talk to the terrible statistic released a few days ago that the leading cause of death for age group 15-44 was tuberculosis accounting for 15,2% deaths in this age group. These tragic results are not surprising. A study done by the Medical Research Council amongst grades 8, 9, 10 and 11 learners selected from public schools in the nine provinces shows very distressing trends indeed. 36% of learners reported ever having had sex and 12% reported their age of initiation of sexual activity as being under 14 years old. Among the learners that had ever had sex, 47% had two or more sexual partners in their lifetime, 58% had sex in the past three months, 18% had sex after consuming alcohol, 13% had sex after taking drugs, 33% practiced consistent condom use, and 18% had been pregnant or made someone pregnant.

The strategy for reproductive health care aims at developing innovative approaches to comprehensive information, education and counselling to adolescents around issues of sexuality. Strengthening service delivery and support on various health concerns, creating effective community supportive networks for adolescents and formulating evidence based revisions of legislation, policies, strategies and guidelines.

All of these and more will be further articulated in the National Youth policy. You must participate and give ideas of how you want this National Youth Strategy 2014 -2019 that must place young people at the centre of development to look like. Send through your suggestions, participate in the provincial workshops that will be organised by the NYDA early next year, twit, email and use whatever form of communication you can lay your hands on. Make sure your voice is heard.

Thank you.

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS