Keynote Address by Deputy Minister Manamela at the Youth in Infrastructure Development 2016 Conference, Coastlands Hotel, Durban
Speaker of the Ethekwini Metro – Councillor Logie Naidoo
Chief Executive Officer of the NYDA – Mr Khathu Ramukumba
Youth Manager of the Ethekwini Metro – Mr Mndeni Mkhize
Interim Secretary General of YAfrica – Mr Tshepo Marabane
It gives me great pleasure to address you this morning. I am encouraged that you are dealing with the critical issue of youth in infrastructure development. Infrastructure development and investment is a key priority of the National Development Plan. We are transforming the economy, directing national growth and driving job creation by implementing a long-term, government- led infrastructure development and investment programme. Through this infrastructure development, government is laying the foundation for growth and decent work for all South Africans and the prosperity of our country.
The National Development Plan (NDP) highlights the importance of infrastructure investment in meeting the social and economic objectives of the country. The NDP advises that: “South Africa needs to invest in a strong network of economic infrastructure designed to support the country’s medium and long-term economic and social objectives. This economic infrastructure is a precondition for providing basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation, telecommunications and public transport, and it needs to be robust and extensive enough to meet industrial, commercial and households needs.”
Government has taken the advice of the NDP to heart and put in place an ambitious infrastructure plan. Since 2009, we have been allocating more than R800 billion in the rolling Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) towards infrastructure. By the end of 2014 government had spent R1 trillion in developing the much-needed infrastructure. Government understands that without sufficient and well-maintained infrastructure our development ambitions will not be realised.
Allow me to give you a few highlights of how government is investing in infrastructure across the various sectors.
Government is spending in the region of R51 billion on new rail rolling stock to renew the passenger fleet as well as R4 billion on new hybrid locomotives. Transnet Freight Rail is spending a further R50 billion to procure 1064 locomotives, of which 599 will be electric and 465 diesel for its General Freight Business unit by February 2019.
To improve our road infrastructure, government has established a Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant to upgrade the portions of the provincial road networks that are deteriorating and in a very poor condition. More than R30 billion will be spent in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period to 2017/18 for maintenance and rehabilitation of provincial roads.
Regarding public transport, a number of cities in South Africa have rolled out bus rapid transit (BRT) or integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN) systems. These include the Rea Vaya in Johannesburg, MyCiti in Cape Town, A Re Yeng in Tshwane and Yarona in Rustenburg. Infrastructure construction 6 to introduce such systems in other cities has commenced in Polokwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Mbombela, Msunduzi, George and Rustenburg.
In the Western Cape, the raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall, at a projected cost of R2.4 billion, has already commenced and is due for completion in 2018. In KwaZulu-Natal, the Hazelmere Dam wall will be raised at a cost of R528 million for the growing demand in the eThekwini and Ilembe District Municipalities.
I could go on further to mention the investments in energy generation infrastructure, water infrastructure as well as schools, universities and TVET colleges. All these investments are anchored in the research and analysis that supports our National Development Plan.
Poverty and inequality are at the heart of the priorities set by National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP seeks to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through uniting South Africans, unleashing the energies of our citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capability of the state and leaders working together to solve complex problems of our society. It is through this initiative that as we build a non-racist, non-sexist democratic society, we can achieve a better life for all.
Government has developed the National Youth Policy 2020 as its seminal platform to drive its youth development response. In developing this policy we extensively consulted with young people. This was important to us because we wanted young people to speak and to own their youth policy. Nothing for us without us. The NYP 2020 was developed with the firm belief that young men and women have a critical role to play in their own development. Their views matter and their voices must be heard.
As we consulted young people, they overwhelmingly told us that they want a hand up and not a hand out. They told us that they do not want to be passive recipients of government interventions. But rather, they are ready to be active partners in youth development. They are not looking for special favours from government.
But instead, they want government to create that enabling environment which creates opportunity for them to grab and take hold off. Therefore the outcome of the NYP 2020 is “to produce empowered young people who are able to realise their full potential and understand their roles and responsibilities in making a meaningful contribution to the development of a non-racial, equal, democratic and prosperous South Africa.”
Through the NYP 2020, we will improve public employment schemes such as the EPWP, Youth Brigades and the Community Works Programmes. These programmes provide an important social safety net for young people whilst improving their employability, skills development and getting them on the first rung of the empowerment ladder. Through the NYP 2020 we will scale up public internships with the creation of 60, 000 internship opportunities. We will make public service something to aspire to by attracting the best and brightest. Public service must become a career of choice and not something to do as a last resort.
Through the NYP 2020 we will drive a mass youth entrepreneurship programme encouraging youth to become entrepreneurs. We are creating a value chain of entrepreneurship across the spectrum from start up to black industrialist. Radical economic empowerment does not mean the quickest way to becoming a tenderpreneur. Radical economic empowerment means developing the capabilities of our young people, providing the opportunities and supports that they need, and assisting their entrance into the labour market and formal economy in the quickest possible way.
Education remains a critical pillar for the empowerment of our young people. Through the NYP 2020, second chance programmes for youth to complete their education will be scaled up with career guidance expanded in all levels of schooling. TVET colleges will be expanded to increase the participation rate to 25% and the graduation rate to 75%.
Social cohesion must be advanced by young people as the primary charters of this new generation. The NYP 2020 supports a youth leadership that will develop active citizenry. I have initiated a Task Team that is currently reviewing and amending the policy framework for the National Youth Service programme.
NYS remains a powerful weapon in our social cohesion and national building arsenal. We want a better coordinated and simplified implementation of NYS that creates opportunities for all young people to serve their communities and country. In the next month we will submit the National Youth Service Framework to cabinet for approval. Our aim is to see 1 million young people in youth service programmes by 2020.
For youth development to succeed, we need effective machinery across government and civil society to drive good policy making and efficient implementation. To this end, we will be amending the NYDA Act to ensure that we have an effective, responsive NYDA particularly in provinces. Already the NYDA has begun to turn itself around with clean audits, good governance and strong management. The establishment of the Presidential Working Group on Youth has taken place as promised in the NYP 2020. Through this mechanism, government is ensuring that youth development receives high priority and that implementation of key proposals within the NYP 2020 will be closely monitored.
I have said to young people and youth formations that they have a key role to play in the implementation and monitoring of youth development. Government will continue to create the enabling environment for youth development. We expect young people and youth organisations to develop these opportunities and turn them into gold. Young people must not depend on the charity of government.
Instead they must be resources for their country, working with government as partners to create opportunity. Young people must act as partners in their own development. This is the characterisation of youth development that must prevail. This is real empowerment leading towards enhancing young people’s capabilities and agency.
Allow me to draw your attention towards two very exciting initiatives that I participated in recently. I had the privilege of giving the keynote address at the South African Institute of International Affairs Young Leaders Conference 2016. The conference brought together over a hundred young people both in and out of school. These young leaders had the opportunity to debate key issues related to South Africa’s foreign and domestic policy, the sustainable development goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Their conference resulted in important proposals that were developed and these proposals were presented to me at a session in the Union Buildings.
Minister Jeff Radebe and I also participated in the Brightest Young Minds Summit 2016. Minister Radebe held a session with 100 hundred youth on the National Development Plan. These youth were put into teams and had to develop innovative ideas to tackle some of our most pressing development challenges. Through this competition, three teams emerged. I had the privilege of listening to their innovative ideas and engaging them. I was impressed with their level of analysis and innovation.
I mention these two events because I want to underscore the importance of an engaged youth. Our National Youth Policy 2020 and our National Development Plan 2030 will not succeed if we do not have young people playing their part. You must monitor government actions and implementation. Are we doing what we said that we will do? You must engage government on new and innovative ways to tackle development challenges.
What new ideas can you bring to the table to tackle our societal problems? You must partner with us where you can. What can we do together and better? You must play your part.
We look forward to your engagement.
I thank you.
Source: South African Government.