The youth has cautioned President Cyril Ramaphosa that the time for long-winded talk is over, and now is the time for the government to take serious measures to address the plight that youth face in the country.
Young people between the ages of 15 to 34 years old make up 35.7% of the total population, numbering at 20.6 million, according to Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) mid-year population estimate report, released in 2018.
Addressing the President on a variety of issues ahead of his state of the nation address, young people from across South Africa’s varying landscape took the opportunity to highlight issues such as education, the inaccessibility of support measures for young people in business and numerous other challenges. They also offered ideas and practical solutions on how to deal with youth unemployment.
First to break the ice, in what was a frank dialogue with the President was National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni. In his remarks, Mtsweni pleaded that Ramaphosa works to ensure that in his decision making more concerted efforts should be made to include young people in government. “We can never have a conversation in South Africa without including the youth and people with disabilities,” expressed Mtsweni.
Earlier this month Ramaphosa announced his national executive which included one minister and four deputy ministers in their 30s.
Wednesday’s dialogue focussed to a large extent on education. Chartered accountant and social commentator Khaya Sithole has called on Ramaphosa’s government to amplify efforts for turning the tide in South Africa’s education system. Sithole suggested that while polices have been put in place with “good faith”, measures must now be taken to ensure that these policies see the light of day. “Don’t rewrite the script, work to improve prospects of the youth in society,” urged Sithole.
Despite the harsh criticism, Ramaphosa maintains that his government is one that is willing to listen to the people and that the youth remain his cornerstone to ensuring that the country can progress. He has promised that the cries of the youth will not fall on deaf ears, and that work will be done to ensure that measures are taken to enable South Africa’s young people to flourish… “We need to create an ecosystem for young people to be able to thrive”.
Ramaphosa has promised the youth that the issue of young people will be covered extensively in the SONA.
(Source: SABC News)