Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela says the National Youth Policy (NYP) can only succeed if it has the full support of society as a whole.
Speaking at the launch of the consultative process for NYP 2020 in Pretoria on Wednesday, the Deputy Minister said government intends to mobilise the nation behind youth development.
“The primary purpose of the NYP drafting process is to ensure that we have in place youth development programmes that respond to the challenges faced by the youth of our country, programmes that enable young people to have agency and take charge of their destiny,” said Deputy Minister Manamela.
He said they will target youth development across all government spheres, the private sector, NGOs and community-based organisations. When the policy gets adopted in March, it must be about the shaping of young people into active and productive citizens, the Deputy Minister said.
He said the youth desk in the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, assisted by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) as secretariat, will craft the youth development strategy to ensure the policy is implemented.
Meeting international youth development standards
Deputy Minister Manamela said South Africa operates under the auspices of international obligations such as those of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
“The UN emphasises the need for youth specific country policies and strategies that aim at enabling young people to make the right choices, protect them from exploitation and neglect and ensure their participation in all spheres of society,” he said.
The NYP, he said, must be evidence based, inclusive and must shape young people as agents of change and not just as passive recipients of government services, but as architects for their own future.
“This youth policy that the youth will be developing through their inputs is not an add-on to the national development agenda it is the national development agenda composite to the National Development Plan (NDP).
“That is why we urge those who will be making contributions to read the NDP document … It would be futile to define youth development outside the mainstream as it would be repeating the mistakes that saw the NYDA being created as a distant “mini-government,” he said.
Priority areas of the NYP 2015 – 2020
Deputy Minister Manamela said four priorities for the NYP 2015-2020 were identified at the initial stage. They include enabling economic participation, facilitating skills development, reducing morbidity and mortality due to risky behaviour, and facilitating a South Africa where young people in particular will practice leadership.
“In the extensive consultative forum, young people will be expected to further input into these policy proposals aimed at transformation,” he said.
The Draft Youth Policy takes its cue from the Skills Accord and the NDP in articulating how skills development will be made accessible to the majority of young people.
The Deputy Minister said the draft policy draws heavily from the drug master plan, which includes the building of public drug treatment centres (one for each province), and stricter enforcement of municipality bylaws dealing with restricting access to alcohol.
“The draft policy also talks to increased access to reproductive health care services and information, so that young people are empowered to make the correct choices in relation to their sexuality.
“Through the Youth Policy 2020, we will ensure that the coordination, mainstreaming and oversight of youth development and youth work is not only going to be what the NYDA does, but must be mainstreamed also in the work of government and other social partners,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said young people from every corner of the country are expected to own the youth policy formulation process and the outcome.
“All must speak. The policy should mainly contain their needs, interests and aspirations as young people. But very importantly, this youth policy must address the trio challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.
“This policy is about the youth, for the youth and by the youth of South Africa,” he said.
Detailed announcements are expected soon regarding the programme that will cover every province’s consultation schedule. Inputs from society through emails will be welcomed.
“We are also not limiting the consultative process to just young people, but young and old should comment and make their voices heard,” Deputy Minister Manamela said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za