The Honourable Deputy Minister for Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration, Mr Buti Manamela
The Honourable Deputy Minister of the Department of Arts and Culture Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi
The Honourable MEC for Gauteng in the Department of Education, Mr Panyaza Lesufi
The Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency, Mr Yershen Pillay
The Executive Deputy Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency, Mr Kenny Morolong
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Development Agency, Mr Khathu Ramukumba
The National Youth Development Agency, Board of Directors and Executive Managers
The Ward 39 Councillor, Mr Themba Msibi
From the June 16th Foundation, Mr Oupa Moloto
Representatives from Public Sector, Private Sector and Civil Society
The Community of Soweto
And last but not least the masses of the youth of South Africa present
It is with a great sense of priviledge that we are here in Soweto to launch the National Youth Month 2015. As many of you will recall, the June month was chosen as Youth Month precisely because of events that took place in here in Soweto in June 1976. As you will accordingly know, it was on June 16 that the first victim of what became the 1976 Students’ Uprising was killed by the apartheid security forces and that was 13 old Hector Pieterson. You will also recall that the protests were precipitated by the fact that the youth refused to have all their subjects taught in Afrikaans as standard medium of instruction in all schools.
We also meet here today on the occasion of a year we have declared “The Year of the Freedom Charter”, in recognition of the milestone 60th anniversary of its adoption in 1955, right here in Soweto in Kliptown. This township is historic in many ways and has been the heartbeat of what happens in our country for decades.
A policy document, National Youth Policy 2020, made government policy through approval by the cabinet following elaborate consultations with various youth organisations. This policy seeks to address the main areas that must be the youth development agenda economic participation and transformation education, skills development and second chances health including reproductive health care and anti-substance abuse nation building and optimising the youth development machinery.
It is my belief that should there be success in addressing comprehensively and radically these five areas of youth development, we would have successfully taken a giant stride in responding to the challenges posed by poverty, inequality and unemployment as most pronounced amongst the youth of our country.
Essentially, the National Youth Development Strategy will seek to locate implementation of the National Youth Policy 2020 within the broad programmes of government. National youth policy must directly interface with all spheres of national, provincial and local development, both in the government and private sectors.
The role of the private sector is vital as we noted in the statement on the occasion of releasing the current MTSF, and I quote: “More rapid private sector investment is critical for higher growth, as the private sector accounts for 70% of production and employment.”
We also observed that: “The NDP indicates that South Africa needs to increase its level of investment to at least 25% of GDP.” This is the essence of radical economic transformation in terms of the magnitude of the strides we must endeavour to achieve.
Some of the MTSF targets derived from the National Development Plan and which informs the National Youth Policy 2020 are the following:
The targets for education and skills are:
Achieving 100% Grade R coverage
More than 50% of Grade 12 learners achieve 50% or more in Mathematics and Physical Science
Increase headcount enrolments in Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges to 1.24 million
Increase the percentage of university academic staff with PHDs from 38% in 2012 to 46%.
The actions to achieve these education and skills targets include, amongst others:
Establishing a teacher knowledge testing system for feedback into training and support
Developing effective tools for monitoring class size, teacher posting and absences
Developing protocols on the secondment of sector specialists to work in Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges
Ensuring that Technical and Vocational Education and Training College lecturers are exposed to the work place.
As some of you will recall, last year we indicated during the youth month that “Rural Youth Hubs are being established, including in the 23 poorest districts in the country.”
We also indicated that “The Expanded Public Works Programme, which provides temporary work opportunities for the unemployed – will ensure that 40% of people employed on these projects will be young people.”
And very importantly, we reported that “The Industrial Development Corporation in partnership with the NYDA and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) have ring-fenced R2, 7 billion over the next five years for young people to take up opportunities in business.”
Certainly this demonstrates vividly that youth entrepreneurship must be located in the mainstream finance institutions such as SEFA and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Just by the end of 2014, over R730 million was spent by government to support over 15 000 youth enterprises. I am confident that the establishment of the Small Business Development Department will further consolidate expansion of youth entrepreneurship.
In the last financial year, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) supported 1043 micro and small youth owned enterprises to the tune of R29 million. Furthermore, the NYDA provided non-financial business development support to 62 990 young aspiring and established entrepreneurs.
The NYDA, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Training, also implements the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund launched by President Zuma in March 2014. It is aimed at poor, rural youth who achieve academic excellence. The NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund disbursed more than R40 million and helped 586 poor, mostly rural youth to access higher education in 2014.
There were 3370 new jobs created and sustained through Economic Development Intervention. Almost 900 000 young people were supported through our career guidance programmes. A total of 3378 youth were supported through the youth build programmes which addresses the critical up-skilling in technical fields such as artisans that the country critically needs.
A total of 74 Partnerships were established with Government, Private Sector and Civil Society. Over R86 million was mobilised and leveraged financial resources from 3rd parties including Primestars, Department of Higher Education amp Training, Department of Public Works, Sector Education Training Authority. The NYDA has continued to unroll the Second Chance Matric Re-write programme which allows those who have failed their matric exams the opportunity to rewrite and receive free revision of all subjects and scores have benefitted in this regard.
The National Youth Service programme provides opportunities for young people to volunteer and give back to their communities. There are various facets and opportunities to volunteer such as the YouthBuild programme which was implemented by the NYDA in partnership with the Department of Human Settlement. This programme enrols youth who are unemployed in the building and construction of RDP houses or community amenities. We will work with all government departments to participate in earmarking projects for purposes of Expanded Public Works.
These are some of the achievements made whilst acknowledging the magnitude of youth development requires that we devise means to accelerate youth development. We thus revamp youth policy not because nothing was done in the past, even beyond the institutional mechanisms that we have adopted since 1994. We revamp youth policy so that we better position ourselves to accelerate even further youth development in our country.
However, as the 20 Year review report indicates, we have also made enormous strides in youth development over the past two decades even though the challenges persist to this day. This alone shows the magnitude of the challenges we inherited in 1994.
That is why over the past 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa we gave education the highest budget allocation more than any other departmental budget vote. This undoubtedly give meaning to our celebration of the Freedom Charter in that we have drastically flung open the doors of learning and culture to all our youth irrespective of race or gender.
By 1994, a mere 150 000 African students were enrolled in higher education. By 2012 over 750 000 African students were enrolled and such increases were reflected across the black majority. Government bursaries for higher education have been increased from a paltry R21 million in 1994 to R8 billion in 2013, offered through the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Matric pass rate tremendously increased as annually reported by the Minister of Basic Education. As we reported last year, there has been significant increase in education related support that increased from 44 000 to 1.6 million primarily in the form of career guidance and technical skills training. And as I have indicated, vocational training will constitute major intervention, including the use of the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA’s).
Whilst The Presidency youth development programme as championed by the Deputy Minister will spearhead youth policy implementation throughout the country, we do expect that provincial and local government entities must likewise put up institutional mechanisms that will ensure the implementation of the National Youth Policy 2020. This must be in line with our general conceptualisation that youth development must permeate all areas of development in the country and most certainly the Integrated Development Plans.
On the occasion of presenting the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) in August 2014, we quoted a 1977 message written by our former President Nelson Mandela to Adelaide Tambo that read as follows, and I quote: “Significant progress is always possible if we ourselves plan every detail and allow intervention of fate only on our own terms. Preparing a master plan and applying it are two different things.” Whilst this was true in our presentation of the MTSF as broad government programme, it is also true with regards the National Youth Policy 2020 that must inform comprehensive youth development.
Allow me to re-iterate the fact that the Youth Employment Accord signed on the 18th April 2013 by government, organised labour, organised business as well as community and youth formations continues to offer a mass-based, collective and realistic approach to accelerate job creation for young South Africans. The Accord aims to make a meaningful contribution to the creation of five million jobs by 2020, which without doubt must be monitored in the context of the National Youth Policy 2020.
As we stipulated on the occasion of the release of the current MTSF that in each of the 14 outcomes it outlines goals, indicators, targets, actions, and responsibilities, these must be true for government in general as must also be true for the National Youth Policy 2020 implementation. In this way we would have succeeded in mainstreaming youth development in the economic activities of our country.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail. Likewise the details in implementing the National Youth Policy 2020 will be clarified in the Integrated Youth Development Strategy that must spell out how and by whom the actual implementation will be done.
That is why when we released the MTSF we said and I quote: “It is in this context that we will ensure the rapid implementation of an Integrated Youth Development Strategy (IYDS) as a broad vehicle or tool towards the mainstreaming of youth development. The priority areas of youth development are employment creation, entrepreneurship support and education (skills development). By rapidly absorbing youth into the mainstream development of our country, we will have responded effectively to the fact that of the approximately 25% unemployed in South Africa, the vast majority are young people between the ages 15 to 35 years.”
I will encourage you to study the National Youth Policy 2020 and see for yourself the opportunities that avail to you for your own development as the youth of this country. As government we live by the adage entailed in the Freedom Charter whose 60th anniversary we celebrate this year, in that there is no government that must gain legitimacy without the expressed will of the people. Similarly, we have not sought as government to impose youth policy in South Africa, lest we repeat the mistakes of the apartheid government that sought to impose Afrikaans as medium of instruction.
That is why since 1994, government has always taken leaf from the youth of this country on how youth development must be conceptualised and spearheaded. From the days of the NYC, the UYF up to the present, the youth have always taken leadership on youth development policies in South Africa. The concept of an Integrated Youth Development Strategy was first agreed to by the youth themselves following the assessment on the youth development environment in South Africa commissioned by the NYC. Similarly both the National Youth Policy 2009 – 2014 and the current National Youth Policy 2020 are all products of elaborate youth consultations.
As government we believe the youth of this country have turned the corner in their conceptualisation of youth development. This is more so because, unlike before, youth development will be central to government work as opposed to the periphery that it had occupied previously.
It was consequently inconceivable that a mere R1billion apportioned to the Umsobomvu Youth Fund could radically aance youth development, more so given the statistics that points to the problems of unemployment, poverty and inequality as essentially a youth problem in South Africa.
Thus it is our understanding that the NYDA must be limited to piloting projects that demonstrate what can be done but that the bulk of the work must rightfully reside in all government departments and the private sector as a whole.
I therefore challenge you as the youth of our country to assist in bringing about radical economic transformation in South Africa by taking step to participate in personal economic development.
Once we have mainstreamed youth development, we will be able to report comprehensively across all fields of youth development, which must necessarily cover all areas of our country’s development. The youth must be found in farming, in ICT, in the financial institutions, in the media, in engineering, in sports, in cultural activities and all other activities that constitute the economy of our country. That is why career guidance as offered also by the NYDA programmes is such an important youth development mechanism on its own to help maximise the potentials of our youth. Over 1 253 049 young people received information on self-development through 26 operational NYDA centres. An additional 938 044 young people received career guidance. And as has become the slogan, we too emphasise that: “uzoyithola kanjani uhleli ekhoneni!”
Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of young people who participated in the formulation of the National Youth Policy 2020. Past generations have defined their epochal challenges and the onus is on you to shape your own future and the future of all posterity progressively. Like the generation of Seme in 1912, also the generation that drafted the 1955 Freedom Charter, as well as the 1976 generation, you too must define what becomes your main challenge in the current epoch. I have no doubt that the National Youth Policy 2020 is your direct response to this challenge hence we are obligated as government to help champion your development course in this context.
As I conclude, allow me to re-iterate the message we have expressed following the recent violence against foreign nationals. I need not remind you that we are Africans before the colonial masters divided us according to their colonial schemes. That is why we stood in solidarity against colonialism and apartheid as Africans. Thus xenophobia has no place both in our history and in our future! We therefore call on each and everyone of you to help stop the barbarism of xenophobia and banish such hatred from every corner of our beautiful land. As government we will continue to monitor the situation through the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration established for this express purpose, whilst encouraging intra-African trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges that mutually benefit our various African countries.
Finally, I thank you for being here today and working together we will successfully champion youth development!
I thank you!
Issued by: The Presidency
Source : South African Government