South Africa Info Forums

Full Version: Unemployment, drugs top Youth Month agenda
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Johannesburg – Education, skills development, job creation and the fight against substance abuse will top the agenda when millions of people commemorate June 16 this year.

Obed Bapela, the Deputy Minister in the Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, said these will be government’s main priorities when the government holds several public meetings and events around the country throughout the month of June.

Speaking on Monday to young people at the launch of the Youth Month programme at Old Tom’s Hall next to the Hector Peterson Museum in Orlando, Soweto, Bapela said these priorities were informed by the social-ills of unemployment, substance abuse and lack of skills facing the youth of the country today.

“Government will also be hosting a number of public participation sessions around the country during the Imbizo Focus Week that will be taking place from 11 -17 June 2013.

“The izimbizo will provide a great opportunity for communities and other entities to get involved and make their voices heard.

“During this month of June, let us recommit ourselves to fighting the war against substance abuse and alcoholism in all areas of the country,” he said.

Speaking shortly after laying wreaths at the Hector Peterson Square in memory of the fallen heroes of the June 16 uprising, Bapela said President Jacob Zuma had also formed a Presidential Youth Working Group, a platform where youth sector leaders meet with Zuma and several ministers to discuss youth challenges and do an assessment of the progress made in addressing these programmes.

According to latest statistics, about three million South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 are currently jobless.

Some of them have dropped out of school and are used as drug paddlers in areas such as Eldorado Park in southern Johannesburg.

Bapela said a recent intervention by the Gauteng Provincial Government in that area - where police were deployed to shut down lolly lounges and arrest drug dealers - was welcomed and would contribute to the Youth Month theme, ‘Working together for youth development and drug-free South Africa’.

He said the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) had contributed to creating more than 28 000 jobs in the last three years, provided career guidance services to more than one million young people, provided over 110 bursaries and issued more than 33 000 loans to micro, small and medium enterprises.

“The Presidency commends the work done by the NYDA over the past three years, and still makes the call to all social partners and all government departments to form strategic partnerships with the NYDA on reducing unemployment. It’s only when everyone in our country puts together a concerted and common purpose that the lives of young people will be changed for the better, as we are all painfully aware that the danger of high unemployment of young people has a huge potential of destabilising a democratic government.”

NYDA to discontinue loans, offer grants

Yershen Pillay, the newly-appointed NYDA board chairperson, said with unemployment and lack of youth skills remaining a big challenge, they had shifted their focus and introduced programmes that will tackle the challenges effectively.

“We have shifted our approach of the NYDA from enterprise … development to education and skills development focus.

“[We want to change] from loan provision to grant finance, which will be a combination of career guidance, grants, training and mentorship programmes,” he said.

Pillay said with the new focus, the NYDA planned to reach out to 700 000 people with career guidance alone.

He said during June, they expected to reach out to 1 250 first-time entrepreneurs through various roadshows that will take place around the country.

Zuma is expected to address the main June 16 event at in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal.

New education programme to be launched

The June 16 Foundation is to launch a programme aimed at improving maths and science marks at several legacy schools around Soweto.

Dan Motsitsi, the chairperson of the June 16 Foundation, said they had partnered with Gauteng Department of Education MEC Barbara Creecy to roll-out the programme, The Culture of Learning and Teaching, to priority schools around the township.

He said this was a programme where Soweto residents, under the leadership of the foundation, would take it upon themselves to ensure that the culture of learning is prioritised by their own children.

“Saturday and holiday classes will form part of the programme starting from Grade 9, 10, 11 and Grade 12 learners,” he said. –