Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas, at the 41st Youth Day Commemoration – Macdonald Pitso Stadium, Jan Kempdorp

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Mayors and councillors
Government officials
Youth formations
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am greatly pleased to join you here today, as we honour the heroic young women and men who sacrificed life and limb to ensure that we all have the freedom that we enjoy and at times dishonour. This year’s Youth Day commemoration marks a milestone 41 years since the students braved the might of the Apartheid State to demand their rights as equal citizens of the country.

The class of 1976 reshaped the course of history, they demonstrated their unwavering commitment for a just South Africa and therefore we need to preserve their legacy by taking advantage of the opportunities provided for by Government. This 41st anniversary of the Soweto uprising is commemorated under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”. The theme for this year’s commemoration is dedicated to OR Tambo as it coincides with the celebration of the centenary of his birth. OR Tambo is the late former President of the African National Congress and one of the key founding fathers of South Africa’s liberation and constitutional democracy.

In his life he warned that a country that does not take care of its youth does not deserve its future. The activities of this month should therefore eminent the life and legacy of OR Tambo. In his youthful days, OR Tambo was a founder and member of the ANC Youth League in 1944.

Dames en Here

Ons is duidelik bewus daarvan dat die jeug van vandag gekonfronteer word met n magdom van uitdagings wat verskillend en kompleks is wat die jeug van gister mee te doen gehad het. Waar die jeug van vroeër hulle lewe neergelê het om te verseker dat ons, ek en U, die vryhede en geleenthede geniet wat hulle ontneem was; word ons jongmense van vandag  in die gesig gestaar deur ontwikkelings, sosiale en ekonomiese uitdagings wat ‘n verskillende benadering verg.

In addressing these socio-economic challenges, Government requires an effective strategy by working together with the youth towards radical economic transformation by focussing more on closing the gap between the rich and poor. This can be done by building a more equitable growth path as outlined in the National Development Plan. Guided by the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030 which asserts that South Africa has an urbanising, youthful population presents an opportunity to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty. The Northern Cape Provincial Administration is committed:

  • To provide young people with broader opportunities; and
  • Strengthen youth service programmes and introduce new, community-based programmes to offer young people life-skills training, entrepreneurship training and opportunities to participate in community development programmes.

 Important for us as the African National Congress led Government of the Northern Cape is to continuously put in place programmes that prepare young people for that transition from adolescence to adulthood. This is done through a structured, progressive series of activities, experiences and critical instruments and policy initiatives which will help you to obtain social, emotional, ethical, physical and cognitive competencies.

The development of young people is therefore be aligned to Governments’ approach to addressing poverty and underdevelopment, as well as a mechanism for promotion of social adjustment, social cohesion, and economic emancipation attained through comprehensive, integrated, cross-sectoral and sustainable policies and programmes that seek to bring about tangible improvements in the quality of your lives.

In terms of education and training, Government introduced the National Norms and Standards for funding Technical Vocational and Educational (TVET) Colleges. This intervention affords each student that is enrolled in a state-funded programme, to be subsidised by the state at 80% of the total programme cost.  We further introduced the TVET College Bursary Scheme to cover the remaining 20% for those academically deserving and yet financially needy students to ensure that they gain access to education and training opportunities in TVET colleges.

Through the Northern Cape Premier’s Bursary Trust and other government department bursary schemes, we continue to provide access to about 600 students to ensure that the doors of quality education remain open to our youth.

We are in the process of reviewing this Administration’s approach towards funding for higher and further education with the intention of centralising the application process to ensure a central application point with added services such as a placement office for workplace exposure and to facilitate employment of bursary holders, especially in terms of scarce and critical skills in the Northern Cape.  In addition, we are also looking at a centralised application process for learnerships and internships to ensure equitable access to such opportunities across the province.

Earlier this year, a directive was issued to all Departments to ensure that they include youth specific Indicators in their Annual Performance Plans in order to mainstream youth development across government departments.  We will be taking it a step further, for the next financial year, by assessing budgetary allocation of Departments to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of our young people.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Another reality we face is that the majority of young people lack the technical skills to access employment opportunities; hence this year we launched the Youth Skills Development Programme. The Provincial Youth Skills Development Programme emanates from the Provincial Youth Summit held in Upington last year, which resolved that;

  1. Youth unemployment must be urgently addressed.
  2. The recommendations of the youth research commissioned by the Department of Social development in 2015 which recommended special youth employment initiatives should be implemented.

 As a result, the Northern Cape Administration, through Office of the Premier initiated interventions which are aimed at improving the skills level of the youth across the all districts. Four hundred learners are currently being trained in the programme and we intend to upscale this programme to ensure more young people form part of this skills revolution, I will be making announcements at the appropriate time in terms of this initiative.  We will also be engaging Private Sector to partner with Government in terms of a youth skills development initiative to ensure that we provide hope for the unemployed, especially those who have become desponded in terms of finding employment.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Government Departments implement a range of skills development initiatives; however, these initiatives are fragmented at times and lack integration, therefore we will be conducting an audit of all these initiatives to determine how to strengthen these initiatives and integrate them across Government Departments to ensure better impact.

We will be working with the National Youth Development Agency, the Department of Economic Development, SEDA, Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry to develop a programme for youth in business to ensure that we address the barriers for young people in business or aspirant entrepreneurs.

These are but some of the interventions that this Administration will be implementing and upscaling to ensure that the youth of today enjoy the freedom fought for by the youth of 1976.  This will ensure that the legacy of the youth of 1976 remains etched in our hearts and minds.

We should also bear in mind that it remains our collective responsibility as government, private sector and civil society to address the challenges facing our young people. For this to happen, we must work together to create community infrastructure that will respond to the developmental challenges of our young people.

Many of our young people leave the province in search of developmental opportunities. Our role is therefore to ensure that we create space and opportunity for young people to develop their untapped potential and help us achieve radical economic transformation.

Dames en here,

My kernboodskap aan u vandag is om hierdie geleentheid met altwee hande aan te gryp. Aan die einde van die dag sal jou vordering afhang van hoe jy jouself sal motiveer om nie toe te laat dat enigiets jou sal laat afwyk van die doel wat jy vir jou daar gestel het nie. Invloede soos drank en dwelm misbruik, tiener swangerskappe, geweld in enige vorm is faktore wat negatief sal inwerk op jou pad na roem en sukses. Die pad na ‘n beter lewe verg harde werk. Dit verg dissipline, toewyding en ywer. Dit vereis ook geduld en verantwoordelikheid. Daar is beslis geen ander manier.

Ek doen ‘n ernstige beroep op U om verantwoordelikheid te neem vir u toekoms en nie net vir u toekoms maar vir die toekoms van hierdie wonderlike land ons ons. Ons, die jeug is dit aan ons voorouers en almal wat hul lewens neergele het om die Vryheid van ons almal te verseker, verskuldig. Ons nasionale krises vandag is die wrede aanslag op ons jeug deur dwelmhandelaars en ander negatiewe invloede van die samelewing.

Die grootste stryd wat ons jongmense vandag stry is om hulself te oorwin en hul regmatige plek in die sameleweing te neem. U is nie net die toekoms van hierdie land nie,- u is die huidige leiers in wording en u maak saak. Die onus is op u as jong mense om julle waarde te besef en julself te verbind tot  opheffing van ons land en die ekonomie. Ek daag u dis uit om uit te stuig bo dit wat u tans vashou en die ketting van hopeloosheid te verbreek. U kan dit doen en ek is beslis postief oor die land in die hande van ons leiers van vandag en môre.

I want to conclude by stating that, as we celebrate this legacy of OR Tambo, youth must always be mindful of the fact that OR Tambo became the interpreter of the revolution – its teacher, its moral guide and its mediator. Oliver Tambo’s ideas live in our Constitution, in the democratic and cooperative values of the African National Congress and its vision for a just, inclusive and equitable society. At a time when we are taking stock and preparing for the next phase of our history, it is important that we pay tribute to this revolutionary thinker in a manner befitting the stature of this great revolutionist, intellectual and leader.

I thank you

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