Keynote Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, on the occasion of National Youth Day 16 June 2015 Upington, Northern Cape Province

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Mayors and Councilors
Youth formations
Leaders of different political organisations
Distinguished Guests
Members of the media
Community of the Northern Cape in general and people of the Upington in particular
Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me firstly to reflect on the tragic events of the past couple of days that has shocked our Province into silence and made us realize once more that the issues of domestic violence and more so violence against women and children is an unfortunate reality that our society is still confronted with. To the family of the late Speaker of this District, Ms Nokhaya Mjila, I want to express our heartfelt condolences. Your pain is our pain and your loss is our loss; no amount of words can express the heart-wrenching pain and immense sense of shock that we are enduring at the loss of your loved ones. We can only express our hope and prayers that the Almighty will be your comforter on this tragic journey.

Today, as we commemorate Youth Day in our beloved Province, we want to pay tribute to a leader, a mother, a sister and a community activist who fought for the prosperity of society and whose selfless sacrifice will never be erased from our memories. May the soul of our comrade and sister, Nokhaya Mjila and her loved ones rest in eternal peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As we gather here to celebrate Youth Day, I am reminded of the words of the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Anan, when he remarked, “You are never too young to lead and you should never doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not.”

It is precisely because young people took the baton and did not consider themselves too young or inexperienced that through their heroic actions on June 16 1976, we could overcome the dehumanizing forces of the cruel, obnoxious and racist apartheid junta and as a result our country was able to take the turning point in the opposition to white minority rule in South Africa.

This year marks the 39th anniversary of the June 16 Soweto and other related uprisings against the former regime. That day ended tragically with hundreds of young people being brutally killed. This tragedy became a rallying point that inspired a nation and a people to rise up against the brutal apartheid system.

With the advent of democracy in our country in 1994, the new democratic government declared 16 June as National Youth Day and June as Youth Month. This year National Youth Day and Youth Month will be celebrated under the theme: “Youth moving South Africa forward”. The theme is a call for action by a broad range of social partners who, in tandem with government, are moving South Africa forward. It also recognizes the role that the youth of South Africa have played and are still playing in moving the country forward.

Dames en Here

Die stryd wat die jeug van 1976 gevoer het, was vir vryheid en die skepping van 'n demokratiese staat. Vandag; jare later word jeug aktivisme gerig op die driedubbele bedreiging van armoede, ongelykhede en werkloosheid en hoe ons dit suksevol aan sal kan aanpak en oorkom. Die jeug van vandag staar baie uitdagings in die gesig soos MIV/Vigs, dwelmmisbruik en alkoholisme. Meer moet ook gedoen word om te verseker dat die persoonlike ontwikkeling van ons jeug plaasvind sodat hulle ekonomiese vryheid kan bereik en sodoende by dra tot die ontwikkeling van ons land.

Vanjaar se herdenking van Nasionale Jeugdag vind plaas 21 jaar nadat ons ons vryheid in 1994 bereik het. Dit is ook 60 jaar sedert die aanvaarding van die Vryheidsmanifes in Kliptown in 1955.
Dit maak dit dus moontlik vir ons om te fokus op die vordering wat ons as ‘n Regering tot dusver gemaak het en ook om te konsentreer op die uitdagings wat nog voorlê.
Die derde dekade van vryheid moet dus gekenmerk word deur 'n doelbewuste poging om te verseker dat ons jeug alle geleenthede moet aangryp om hul drome verwesenlik deur middel van harde werk en toewyding.

Programme Director

Our youth played a pivotal role in the birth of our democracy and stood tall in the fight against apartheid and continue to strengthen our democracy. Our freedom would not be possible without the leadership taken by countless young people on that fateful day.  The Class of 1976 exposed the brutality of the apartheid regime to the world and ignited resistance around the country. The sacrifices of the past have delivered a new society where all South Africans can reap the benefits of freedom. Young people are called upon to follow the example of the Class of 1976 and help build our country.  It is time to rise up and play an active role in your local community and in developing the economy through entrepreneurship.

As a Government, we have prioritised youth development and the National Development Plan singles out our youthful population as an opportunity to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty. Initiatives such as the Social Accord on Youth Employment and the Youth Employment Tax Incentive will change the tide of youth unemployment. We are working towards better integration between Sector Education and Training Authorities, workplaces and education and training institutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As stated, youth development remains a key priority for Government because if we ensure the provision of relevant developmental interventions for our young people, we will be well on our way to create a safe and caring Northern Cape and a prosperous South Africa.  For this reason in our Province, the Department of Social Development will be finalising the research on the state of youth development during this financial year. This research was undertaken as a direct result and as a conscious effort on the part of Provincial Government to assess how far we have come in the creation of an enabling environment for our young people to develop their untapped potential and realise their vision of a better life for all.

In addition, from this report of which some of you as young people have participated by sharing your views and perspectives on youth development and the institutions charged with the responsibility for youth development, we will be agreeing on key interventions emanating from the identified gaps to ensure that we address these gaps and provide young people with coordinated, coherent and integrated youth developmental interventions.

Added to the various empowerment initiatives that the Provincial Departments are embarking on in order to make job creation possible for the youth, we are constantly seeking out partnerships with various SETA’s in order to ensure youth skilling so as to prepare youth for entrepreneurship and the job market.

Beyond these partnerships, the Province was able to host the 3rd Annual National Youth Camp at 3 SAI which saw over 1000 young people assemble in Kimberley for a two week period to reflect on the type of society we seek to create and the role of youth in the creation of this envisaged society.

The annual direct investment from the side of Provincial Government Departments in the form of bursaries, learnerships, internships and job opportunities that are aimed at the youth exceeds millions. We are aware that much more is needed to ensure that we address the plight of our young people, but we are fully committed to the realisation of a better life for our young people, a life free of unwanted pregnancies, substance abuse and criminality. We are also cogniscant of the fact that Government cannot do it alone and call on the private sector to also contribute to ensure that together with the youth we help to move this Province forward.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) supports young entrepreneurs. Moreover NYDA has appointed a panel of experts to look into all sectors and industries in the economy that can absorb young people into the job market.

Dames en Here

Ons Nasionale Jeugbeleid sal seker maak dat jong mense bemagtig word om hul regmatige plek in ons samelewing in te neem. Hierdie Nasionale Jeugbeleid word tans hersien en sal binnekort verseker dat die uitdagings wat jongmense vandag in die gesig staar geïdentifiseer word en aangespreek word. Jeug regoor die land was betrek met die hersiening van hierdie beleid en sal definitief baat vind hierby. Die beleid sal ook die Nasionale Jeug Ontwikkelings Agentskap of NYDA soos ons dit ken herposisioneer om jeugsake meer doeltreffend te hanteer.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Young people now shape their own destiny. The youth of today must be at the forefront of societal conversations on dealing with socio-economic challenges. Government is convinced that young people will play a key role in transforming society in the third decade of freedom. The youth are at the heart of the National Development Plan, our collective blueprint for a society where all South Africans will flourish. The inherent potential in young people can be the catalyst for social change and economic emancipation.
Together, we have built a better South Africa and the massive social and economic changes over the past 21 years bear testimony to this. Our nation has been transformed since 1994, income and employment levels have increased, education levels are up and many millions of people now have access to water, electricity, sanitation and housing.  We have succeeded in building a nation from the ashes of apartheid.  We are fortunate to live in a society where all South Africans can prosper and thrive. Together we can ensure that young people share in our economic development and prosperity.

Programme Director

Young people can lead the charge to break down the barriers that divide us. South Africans are socially diverse, yet are united by their love for our country and our flag. We must do more to break down the artificial barriers of culture, race or religion that still divide us. This generation must continue to work towards a society free from racial, social, economic and class barriers. We must maximise the things we have in common rather than to focus on that which divides us.

Dames en Here

My kern boodskap aan die jeug vandag is dat aan die einde van die dag sal jou vordering afhang van hoe ernsitig jy gespits is op jou werk of studies. Die pad na ‘n beter lewe vereis harde werk. Dit verg dissipline, toewyding en ywer. Dit vereis ook geduld en verantwoordelikheid. Daar is beslis geen ander manier!

Onthou, hierdie ANC regering gee prioriteit en aandag aan ons jeug. Julle is ons toekoms. Jy het die sleutel in jou hande om ons Provinsie te bou en om ons land tot groot moontlikhede te lei. Weerstaan versoeking om dwelms te gebruik en om deur kriminele sindikate gebruik te word in hul poging om ons samelewing te destabiliseer. Ek wil rerig 'n spesiale pleidooi rig aan ons jeug om hande te vat om die regering te help om die euwel van misdaad, geweld en wetteloosheid te help uitwis.

Ek is daarvan oortuig dat die jeug van die Noord-Kaap is meer as gereed om die uitdagings wat voorlê aan te takel. Ons wil die jeug daarvan verseker dat hul toekoms vir ons belangrik is en ons is vasbeslote dat julle ‘n beter toekoms verdien. Die toekoms van die Noord-Kaap is in julle hande, begin sommer vandag om daaraan te bou.

Baie dankie

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