Pretoria – With the high number of young people without jobs, government says it will continue to prioritise the development of young people through various initiatives headed by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
In launching this year’s Youth Month at the Union Buildings on Monday, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane also cautioned that the state may not be able to address the challenge alone, calling on young people to “effectively participate” in the struggle against unemployment and work side by side with authorities.
Government has declared June as Youth Month and on Monday Chabane said various activities will be held leading up to the 35th anniversary of the 1976 student uprising. This year’s programme will also be taking place within the context of government’s declaration of 2011 as the year of job creation.
Several government departments will also be using the month to highlight youth unemployment and other challenges facing young people.
“We think with the programmes we are doing and what the NYDA is doing, we will not address this problem …We need to pull the whole of society together, including the private sector and young people themselves to address this challenge of unemployment,” Chabane said.
Celebrated under the theme ‘Youth action for economic freedom in our lifetime’, more than 10 000 young people from all nine provinces will be engaged in community services, with the NYDA saying the campaign was part of its national youth service programme.
“It is the month in which young people braved all odds to fight for equal and quality education for all,” said Chabane, referring to the June 16 march in Soweto that led to the killing of scores of young people who were against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools.
Orlando Stadium in Soweto will be used as the venue for the official commemoration of that tragic event this year. It will be preceded by a wreath laying ceremony at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and opening of the Naledi High School Complex.
Andile Lungisa, the NYDA’s chairperson, said the body will be calling on the private sector and government to ensure that young people played a bigger role in the country’s mainstream economy. This message will be taken to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange when young people march from Alexandra township on 29 June to the stock exchange offices in Sandton.
“The youth march will serve as a call to corporate South Africa to invest more in the education of youth and to consider youth for their skills development, employment and procurement opportunities,” said Lungisa.
He criticized the media for its “poor” coverage of the NYDA events and focusing too much on the controversial Youth Festival held in Pretoria in December. According to him, the NYDA has done much to improve the lives of young people in the country since President Jacob Zuma officially announced its establishment in June 2009.
NYDA says it has facilitated youth access to business funding to the value of R64.4 million and the funding has been issued to youth owned enterprises supporting 31 000 young entrepreneurs with business loan finance.
“In addition, 5 277 young people were issued with business consultancy services vouchers to help them access services such as business plans, company registrations and marketing pans”. – Chris Bathembu, BuaNews