Youth challenges to remain key under government of national unity – Mashatile

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has thrown his weight behind President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he is confident that under his leadership in the government of national unity, South Africa will continue to address the challenges facing the youth.

‘In this regard, we will in the next five years, focus on creating jobs and building an inclusive and growing economy. We will equally focus on implementing a programme focused on skilling youth with the skills of the future,’ he said on Sunday.

Mashatile was speaking at the 48th anniversary of Youth Day at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo.

The annual event recollects the sacrifices of South Africa’s youth in the fight for democracy, an event immortalised by the Soweto Uprising of 16 June 1976.

‘Our young people must have work opportunities,’ Mashatile told the gathering.

The Deputy President believes that the recent General Elections have once again demonstrated the country’s dedication to the values and principles of democracy through fair, f
ree fair elections.

He told the people who had filled the marquee that through their vote, they had spoken and given political parties a clear message after no party won an outright majority.

‘You want us as political leaders to put our differences aside and work together to build our country and address the challenges affecting our people. We are determined to put our differences aside and use our collective strength, skills and experience to create the South Africa that the fallen heroes of the 1976 uprising fought for.’

He stated that young people make up more than two-thirds of the population, making them the biggest community in South Africa. ‘Therefore, we cannot move forward without them, without the youth of our country.’

He cited the National Development Plan (NDP), which places youth at the heart of the country’s development. He said their participation was critical to meeting growth targets.

The Deputy President also highlighted the importance of involving young people in South Africa’s develo
pmental initiatives to address challenges such as poverty, social inequality, poor mental health and high levels of unemployment.

Youth programmes

He acknowledged the challenges facing the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and assured youngsters that they will ensure the scheme is administered efficiently.

He believes that NSFAS remains a critical vehicle that supports students from poor and working-class families, with over 70% of university and more than 90% of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students benefiting from the scheme.

‘We must work together, the private sector, government and civil society must work together to address these challenges.’

The Deputy President also emphasised the need for a whole-of-society approach to provide young people with better access to quality education, basic skills, and employment opportunities, especially those who live in rural areas.

Despite the country’s challenging financial circumstances, he said the State continues to i
nvest in youth human capital development, with more than R31. 8 billion pumped into basic education in 2023 and R130.1 billion for post-secondary education training in 2022.

He touched on government’s efforts to create opportunities for youth through programmes such as the National Youth Development Agency and Enterprise Development Programme.

‘As the government, we want to see more young people actively involved in the economy and participating in decisions that affect their lives.

‘This time around, young people have a government that cares for, prioritises their needs, and wants to see them succeed, unlike the government of 1976.’

Government’s comprehensive approach to reducing youth unemployment, he said, includes formal education, internships, and assistance for youth entrepreneurship through the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.

‘Without the employment of young people, growth cannot occur. I am confident that the seventh administration will continue with efforts to position young people a
s essential drivers and beneficiaries of economic transformation.’

The Deputy also took the time to pay tribute to the fallen heroes and saluted the brave youth who fought for liberation.

‘As we traverse the economic challenges, we urge the youth to adopt the same attitude as Hector Peterson, Mbuyisa Makhubo, Tsietsi Mashinini, and all the youth of 1976, whose sacrifices gave birth to our political freedom. Their efforts have set us on the right path towards a South Africa that is non-racial, non-sexist and democratic.’

Newly elected Limpopo Premier, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, has urged the youth to tackle the social ills that they are facing and grab every opportunity that comes their way.

She highlighted the need for innovative approaches, such as technology integration and equal access to quality education for all.

Ramathuba stressed the importance of addressing the current education system’s inequalities and limitations to ensure a brighter future for South Africa.

Source: South African Government News A