Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed government’s commitment to developing young people who will contribute to creating a prosperous country for all.
“I once again affirm our support as government to supporting young people in every stage of their lives. Through our social partnerships and youth focused programmes we are committed to unlocking the full potential of the young people of our country,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa’s remarks come as South Africa commemorates Youth Day – a day that pays tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto.
This year’s Youth Month coincides with the 30th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela and takes place under the theme: “Youth Power; Growing South Africa Together in the Period of COVID-19”.
The President said government is providing education and training opportunities to ensure that youth get the skills needed by the economy.
“Through [the] National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) we are working to ensure that poverty is no longer a barrier to accessing education, your social status should no longer be a barrier from being educated and becoming skilled because we recognise that a country that invests in its youth is clearly on a road to prosperity.
“Through the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative we have to create new pathways into employment for our youth and ensure that they get the right skills and are able to start their own businesses, get into good jobs as well,” he said.
The President said the National Youth Service has enabled young people to contribute to their communities and this builds an ethos of positive and engaged citizenship where young people become activists for good, activists for changing the lives of people whether it is through the work of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and Expanded Public Works Programmes or through Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).
He was on Tuesday addressing the virtual Youth Day commemorations as the country remains on Level 3 lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. Earlier, the President had participated in an interactive panel session with young people.
Youth encouraged to seize opportunities
The President said government is broadening the frontiers of opportunities for the youth.
“I call on the young people of South Africa to join us in the immense task of rebuilding South Africa and to making this country a place of peace, equality and prosperity for all.
“A country that you, as the young people, will engage in building, as young people you are the change agents, you must be the change that you want to be, you must be become the vehicles of transformation and innovation, the vehicle of creating a great country,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic provides the country with an opportunity to inject new perspectives into how South Africans can turn the economy around.
“Young people must rise to the challenge of leading our recovery after the Coronavirus. We have young entrepreneurs and business owners who through their innovative ideas have been able to change their communities for the better and create new employment opportunities.
“We have outstanding young people in the sciences, research, in sports, entertainment and other fields who have represented our country on global platforms and stages,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President noted the voices of young people in movements such as the fees must fall protests and protests against gender-based-violence (GBV).
He said these movements have been catalysts for change, showing the remarkable potential in young people across all sectors and spaces.
“… Young people from time immemorial have always been driven by changing the world, changing the way things are done, by changing the way we live, by changing unjust systems, by bringing about justice and a new world
“The moment that we now confront post COVID-19 calls young people, across the length and the breadth of our country to be part of that change and be change agents.” the President said.