Cape Town: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on young people to be educated and to be innovative in order to achieve economic freedom in their lifetime.
Speaking at a youth dialogue hosted by the South African Youth Council – an umbrella body for all youth organisations in South Africa – in Mfuleni near Khayelitsha on Tuesday, the Deputy President said government will do all it can to support youth entrepreneurs but it is up to young people to take up all the opportunities in education and business that are available to them.
He said young people should never forget that struggle stalwarts like former President Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Ahmed Kathrada fought tirelessly when they were young to make sure these opportunities are available to all South Africans.
“You should seek economic freedom in your lifetime.
“We are involved in a process of empowering our young people. We are funding them at universities and colleges. We are opening up opportunities for them to participate in the infrastructure programme.
“We are opening up many opportunities and we would like you as young people to seek those opportunities so that you can be empowered.
“We want our people to be their own liberators,” he said.
The Deputy President said young people should take the lead in coming up with strategies that will set the country on a path of development.
He said while former President Mandela led young people to bring about a change in the 1940s, the youth has always been behind bringing about change in many countries, including the students of 1976, who rose to oppose Bantu education imposed on black people by the apartheid government.
It is up to the young people of today to make that difference, Deputy President Ramaphosa said.
He said young people should prioritise education as it is the only way to liberate themselves from the social ills of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
He said government has strived to create work opportunities, especially for young people.
Government aims to create six million job opportunities by 2019. The Deputy President said over five million job opportunities have been created since 2009.
The Deputy President said, meanwhile, that young people must embrace a culture of reading.
He said he currently reads about 30 books a year, and said a nation that does not read is doomed.
“Young people today … are not disciplined and do not aim to become future leaders.
“The first sign that I see this is that young people today do not read. They want to be educated but they do not read. They want to have knowledge but they do not read.
“They don’t pick up a single book in a year … they want to learn things by rumour… Knowledge is … acquired through studying,” he said.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS