Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni: Launch of Youth month 2018

Statement of the National Youth Development Agency on Youth month 2018, by Mr Sifiso Mtsweni, NYDA Executive Chairperson

Deputy Chairperson of the NYDA Board, Ms Bavelile Hlongwa

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Waseem Carrim and other Executive Directors

Members of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 42nd Anniversary since the cowardly and dastardly acts of the apartheid regime that mowed down defenceless students who rightfully demanded equal, accessible and quality education from the government. Those students stood shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe against a regime that sought to impose its minority language and being to the oppressed vast majority of our country

In line with our tradition to commemorate the Youth Month (celebrated in June), as a historic month marking the struggles and contribution by young people towards a free and democratic South Africa. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) will this year continue to host month-long activities across the length and breadth of our country.

This year's Youth Month takes place during heightened celebrations of the centenary year of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. Government is hosting various activities to this effect, such as the dialogue session that took place on various medium counting down to the official Nelson Mandela Day under the #LiveHisLegacy .

We are proud announce that the approved theme for Youth Month 2018 is Live the Legacy: Towards A Socio-Economically Empowered Youth. As the NYDA we continue to encourage young people to emulate the values and virtues of our heroes and heroines. Young people should live the legacy.

Towards the end of last year, we announced that our Head Office is officially known as The Tsietsi Mashini House. The event was led by then Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jeff Radebe (current Minister of Energy). We decided to honour the June 16 generation by bestowing the head offices of youth development in remembrance of one of the conceptualists and leader of the student protest in Soweto which spread across the whole of the country. We took a conscious decision that this year we will honour those who sought to sacrifice their lives in pursuit of the freedom of others, this is why this year we, in commemoration of the life and times of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, were also joined by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr David Mabuza in celebrating the success of one hundred (100) beneficiaries of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Fund which was the first batch of graduates. This fund was established to honour his fearlessness and not bending commitment to the people of South Africa. when at the face of death orchestrated by the brutal apartheid regime Solomon Mahlangu unshakenly declared thatMy blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. This was to be a signal of a cliff to which the apartheid regime would ultimately fall.

The agency has begun discussions on the broadcasting of the movie Kalushi: The story of Solomon Mahlangu on youth day (16 June), across SABC channels to ensure that a story of martyrdom and sacrifice by young people for our liberation reverberates and guides all youth in their various endeavours. Because to us young people remain the greatest asset and guarantor for the future of South Africa.

At the centre of the youth activism in shaping South Africa's future was organisations like the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO), and the Progressive Youth Alliance made up of student and Christian movements. A central figure in that organisation is the well renowned radical Lion of the North, Peter Mokaba. Our Youth Month program for 2018 under the theme NYDA Goes Rural will be focussed in the province of Limpopo which we will outline activities that will take place there. This includes the official visit to the graveside of this radical and militant martyr and face of youth resistance during fight against apartheid.

We have declared this year as a year to fight unemployment, this is because our country seems to be experiencing growing levels of unemployment, with the latest figures as reported by Statistics South Africa. Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2018 paints a bleak future.

Notably is that Of the 10,3 million persons aged 15-24 years, 32,4% (approximately 3,3 million) were not in employment, education or training- implying that close to one in three young South Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 years were disengaged with the labour market in the first quarter of 2018. In this case we must ask if the youth is Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET), where are South Africa's young people and what are they busy with? The answer lies in that whilst they idle they become part of crime and violence.

In the final analysis, these statistics suggests that South Africa's youth are hardest hit by unemployment, poverty and inequality. Of importance is that for youth development to be at the epicentre of government planning, the role of the NYDA is paramount.

In lieu of the above as we celebrate Youth Month, we must reignite the commitment of all role players in youth development. Part of the important milestones, should be a call to release progress to-date of all policies, programmes and interventions aimed at ensuring economic emancipation of young people. This is in line with the fact that youth development is everyone's business and therefore all ought to give an indication and account on how far they have gone in implementing amongst others the Youth Employments Accord, Youth-Target set-asides and most importantly the National Youth Policy (2020) which has entered its third year and therefore review imminent.

We reiterate our call for 40% youth representation across all government departments and all jobs in the private sector. This remains a key solution to this impasse. We are also saying that Government move with speed to introduce the scrapping of experience as a requirement for entry level jobs. Like all progressive laws aimed at changing the lives of society this must be law. This will drastically reduce number of unemployed graduates which currently stands at 33,5% for those aged 15-24 and 10,2% among those aged 25-34 years.

It cannot be business as usual when youth unemployment has reached 38,2% among young people aged 15-34 years.

We have noted and welcomed the introduction of the Youth Employment Service (YES) launched by government.

Ours is to ensure that YES initiative does not become another strategy or an intervention solely to tick a box especially by the Private Sector. It is our feeling that for far too long this sector has folded its arms while the situation worsens, we call on the private sector to do more. We will also ensure that whilst this initiative continues, we engage with YES and social partners to ensure that it creates sustainable jobs for young people and not become another glorified internship program.

We will engage the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to take to task all government departments on the adopted policies aimed at improving the lives of young people. The future of South Africa depends on a socio-economically active young citizenry.

Organised labour should be challenged to begin engaging on the Future of Work, especially in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We must as society begin to engage on how mechanisation will impact our labour force, especially young people. Whilst we do this, we must also call on our society in general to encourage innovation to respond to this era of technology. As a country we must also be in a position to export rather than import technology and innovation

On Femicide

The increased killings of women in general and young school going girls and university students is an indictment to our democracy. We condemn all forms of violence against young women! We will drive programs aimed at conscientizing young men on this scourge and we continue to call on law enforcement agencies to protect young girls and women. Through the Office of the Executive Deputy Chairperson, Ms Bavelile Hlongwa; the NYDA continues to have necessary dialogues with students at universities. Known as Dialogues on Entrepreneurial Skills and Gender Violence. We will post mid-year examinations continue to implement this programme vociferously.

On youth month 2018

Upon assuming office, the NYDA Board committed to take the NYDA out of the Boardrooms directly to young people. Our NYDA-goes-Rural programme is in full swing with intensification in the Youth Month of 2018.

A detailed calender will outline and shared after the official launch on Monday. However the primary focus of our month long program will be the launching of new offices, the visit to rural areas with specific focus on the Limpopo program where in partnership with the provincial Government will see the first ever Youth Month Legacy project that will see the building of a brand new youth centre in one of the Municipal areas. On the 4th of June 2018 we will have the official launch of Youth Month at the Hector Peterson Memorial which will be attended by the Gauteng Provincial Government and addressed by the Minister in the Presidency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

We will on the day also showcase beneficiaries of the NYDA who became success stories, there will be a full beneficiary stand at the official launch to give society a glimpse of the lives that the NYDA has changed

We have moved considerably in turning all NYDA Offices into Wi-FI Hotspots and introducing the NYDA app. NYDA is now available at the finger-tips of every young person.

Thus, Youth Month 2018 will be a period to open full service branches and service centres in the following areas:

1. Newcastle (Full-Service)

2. Richards Bay (Full-Service)

3. Groblersdal (Service Centre)

4. Tzaneen (Service Centre)

5. George (Service Centre)

6. Upington (Service Centre)

7. Umthatha (Service Centre)

8. Alfred Nzo

9. Chris Hani Region

Mogale City




KZN Provincial Government Support and Sponsorship

We must take this time to also commend the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government for signing a Memorandum of Agreement (M.O.A) with the NYDA which will assist entrepreneurs in the province through our grant funding programme and other products and services of the NYDA. The M.O.U started on the 01 April 2017 and will last for the next years until 31 March 2020. The partnership is for R5,5 million over this period.

Furthermore the Office of the Premier has donated six (6) mobile vehicle to be used as outreach offices to reach the far and wide areas.

We call on other provinces to show the same commitment to youth development. We have always decried the fact that the NYDA remains severely underfunded whilst in the recent period become one of the best run state institutions. We call on Government to increase the funding for the agency in order for the agency to play its full meaningful role in changing the lives of young people in the country.

Considering the contribution of Tata Madiba and Mme Sisulu who were youth activists, we are indebted to ensure that their legacy is preserved. It is this context that part of our programme to restore their legacy but most importantly to ensure that we emulate their fortitude, resolve and commitment to the youth of South Africa.

Youth Day

The Department of Arts and Culture, the NYDA and the Presidency will this year host the Youth Day on June 16, 2018. This year's celebrations will be held at Orlando Stadium, Soweto. The state of readiness will be communicated throughout this period. On the Day we will also be joined by the President in the remembrance walk from Moris Isaacson to the Orlando Stadium.

Siya Kolisi & Miss South Africa 2018

We take this opportunity to officially congratulate Siya Kolisi (26) on his appointment as Captain of the Springboks, and Tamaryn Green (23) on winning the Miss SA beauty pageant. Both at a very young age, these trailblazers are an embodiment of a limitless youth of South Africa playing their part in social cohesion and nation building. To us the appointment of the young people at various positions of authority and leadership responsibilities is a great step towards our future. The future is youthful.

Thank you

Source: Government of South Africa