Keynote address by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela to the National Union of Mineworkers National Youth Council, Birchwood Hotel, Ekurhuleni
The General Secretary, Comrade Frans Baleni
Sabelo Mgotshwa, National Secretary of NUM youth council
Leaders of the NUM and National Youth Council
Comrades and friends
It is indeed a pleasure and a privilege to address the NUM National Youth Council meeting today. The General Secretary has requested me to speak about the National Youth Policy 2020. I am mindful that I am speaking to youth activists who have always championed a progressive youth development agenda.
Before I speak about the NYP 2020, I would like to make a few comments on the attacks on foreign nationals that have been taking place recently.
These images of violence and criminality directed at foreign nationals have been splattered over the front pages of our newspapers and our television screens. They have tugged at our hearts and sometimes brought tears to our eyes.
We have seen young people at the forefront of these attacks often displaying the most brute and thuggish behaviour. There can be no justification for this. This is not the South Africa we know. The majority of South Africans are peace loving and want good relations with our brothers and sisters on the continent.
We have also seen young South Africans stand up and boldly declare “NOT IN MY NAME”. These young people have courageously said that they will not be silent in the face of xenophobia and attacks on foreign nationals. They will not allow the name of South Africa to be associated with these dastardly acts committed by the few.
As youth leaders gathered here today we have a responsibility to provide direction and education to our young people. We have to guide young people to live out the values within our Constitution and within the African Youth Charter.
Without us providing leadership, our young people will be at the command of selfish populist voices that do not share in the values of our Constitution. These selfish populist voices will not be there when our young people have to face the consequences of their criminal actions.
So I encourage you today, let’s take our responsibility as leaders of youth seriously. We must stand up and boldly declare that xenophobia and attacks on foreign nationals will not happen in my name. And we must mobilise our young people to stand up and clearly say: NOT IN MY NAME.
I am reminded that it was in this very same venue on 29 and 30 March, the Presidency held a National Consultation with youth organisations and other stakeholders on the NYP 2020. We directly engaged youth in provincial, regional and local consultations across the nine provinces. We went to schools, shebeens, taxi ranks, bus stations and workplaces speaking with young people. We met with key youth formations from across our diverse youth sector. We received over 100 written submissions on the NYP 2020 from varied youth voices across the country.
We could not meet all young people face to face. So we used social media platforms extensively. All NYP 2020 activities were put on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of The Presidency to ensure that young people were always kept abreast of the consultative meetings happening in their area.
We reached about 100 000 young people with the # NYP 2020 campaign and got young people talking through the photos they took holding up boards and a message of what they want to see in the National Youth Policy 2020.
We consulted extensively because we believe that the National Youth Policy 2020 is about the youth, for the youth and by the youth of South Africa. Nothing for us without us. Our consultations were rooted in the unwavering assurance that young men and women have a critical role to play in their own development. Their views matter and their voices must be heard.
The draft NYP 2020 will shortly be submitted to the respective cabinet committee for review and subsequently be submitted to cabinet for approval. We expect the NYP2020 to be launched by the President in June 2015.
The objectives of the NYP 2020 are clear. These objectives are to:
• Consolidate and integrate youth development into the mainstream of government policies, programmes and the national budget
• Strengthen the capacity of key youth development institutions and ensure integration and co-ordination in the delivery of youth services
• Strengthen the capacity of young people to enable them to take charge of their own well-being through building their assets and ultimately realising their potential to the fullest
• Strengthen a culture of patriotic citizenship among young people and to help them become responsible adults who care for their families and others
• Foster a sense of national cohesion, while acknowledging the existence of diverse circumstances and inculcate the spirit of patriotism by encouraging visible and active participation in different youth initiatives or projects and nation-building activities
Of course all these policy objectives must lead us to the desired policy outcome. This outcome is “to produce empowered young people who are able to realise their full potential and understand their roles and responsibilities in making a meaningful contribution to the development of a non-racial, equal, democratic and prosperous South Africa.”
Through the initial research we have undertaken we identified five priorities for the NYP 2020.
These five priorities are:
• Enabling economic participation and transformation
• Facilitating education, skills development and second chances (quality and access)
• Health care and combating substance abuse
• Facilitating nation building and social cohesion
• Optimising youth machinery for effective delivery and responsiveness
There are many policy proposals in each of the 5 identified priorities. I encourage you to read the draft NYP 2020. However I want to outline some key policy proposals in each area.
In the priority area of economic participation and transformation, the NYP 2020 calls for:
• Improved public employment schemes leading to better exiting possibilities for youth. These include the Youth Brigades, Expanded Public Works Programme and Community Works Programme.
• Better and faster implementation of the Youth Employment Accord including a vigorous and robust monitoring and evaluation framework that must support the implementation of this youth policy.
• Development of the Youth in ICT Strategy.
• An impact study to examine the effectiveness of the Employment Tax incentive in stimulating job creation for new entrants into the labour market.
• Scaling up of public service internships to create 60,000 internship opportunities.
• A National Jobs Fair drive to support the integration and coordination of public and private sector work placement services.
• A National Campaign to place university students and graduates who need work experience into Technical and Vocational Education and Training as part of completing their studies.
• A mass youth enterprise creation programme.
• Training young people on skills relevant to agriculture and agro-processing.
• Improving small scale and commercial agriculture through stimulating and supporting young farmers.
In the priority area of education, skills and second chances, the NYP 2020 calls for:
• The performance of schools should improve to ensure that the majority of learners achieve above 50% in all learning areas.
• The existing incentives to attract young people into the teaching profession should be retained at least for the next 5 years and teacher salaries should be competitive.
• All learners should learn an indigenous language with sign language being progressively introduced in schools.
• After school programmes to support learning and life skills.
• Scaling up of programmes that provide learners with a second chance to pass matric.
• Expansion of TVET colleges to increase the participation rate to 25% and the graduation rate to 75%.
• Progressive introduction of free education for poor learners until undergraduate level with increased funding options available to support students at post-secondary level.
• An expansion of career guidance offerings at all levels of schooling.
In the priority area of health care and combatting substance abuse, the NYP 2020 calls for:
• Increasing the access and availability of social workers with particular reference to mental health promotion and prevention.
• Enabling access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
• Expanding recreational facilities and diversion programmes.
• Expanding access to drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation centres.
• Breaking down barriers through innovative healthy lifestyle campaigns on key health care themes.
In the priority area of nation-building and social cohesion, the NYP 2020 calls for:
• Young people must know and understand the National symbols in fostering a common identity.
• Confronting racism in all its forms utilising social media platforms and other innovative campaigns and programmes initiated by youth.
• Supporting youth leadership develop for active citizenry.
• Better implementation of the National Youth Service.
• Broadening sport and recreation opportunities including compulsory schools sports.
In the priority area of optimising the youth machinery for effective delivery and responsiveness, the NYP 2020 calls for:
• The re-establishment of the Youth Presidential Working Group to provide political support for the implementation of the NYP 2020 and its integrated youth development strategy.
• Establishment of youth desks at national, provincial and local levels with adequate, capable and competent personnel and resources.
• The amendment of the NYDA Act to allow for a more focused and responsive NYDA.
• Strengthening of the South African Youth Council to enable it to discharge its mandate effectively.
• The revival of the Youth Development Forum to promote greater commitment from the private sector towards youth development.
I have highlighted a few of the key policy proposals. There are many more proposals and interventions within the NYP 2020 and I encourage you to read the policy document.
A policy document, irrespective of how well it is crafted and consulted on, is not worth the paper it is written on if the policy is not effectively implemented and monitored. Strong and effective implementation and monitoring will help us learn lessons so that we can do things better.
I made the call at the National Consultation Forum and I will re-iterate it today. We cannot implement this policy without the co-operation and partnership of civil society organisations like you.
You can cooperate and partner with us in many ways. Some of these may include:
• Identifying a niche area in the policy that the NUM can contribute to and advance. This may be a particular programme or campaign that NUM can develop to address a priority area.
• Popularising the NYP 2020 with stakeholders in your domain. This may include education sessions with young workers and private sector companies that you are in contact with.
• Directing resources, both financial and human capital, towards a particular priority area within the NYP 2020.
• Holding government accountable towards the effective implementation of the NYP 2020.
You have participated in the consultation process leading towards the development of the NYP 2020.
I invite you to partner with us in the implementation and monitoring of the NYP 2020.
I want to conclude with some remarks that I made to delegates at the National Youth Policy Consultative Conference. I concluded my address at the conference by stating a concern that I have. It’s a concern that has been with me for a while now. We know young people to be a special type, with unique characteristics. They are vibrant. They are energetic. They are creative. They are robust. They are resourceful. They are imaginative. They are original.
So my concern and my question is this: Why is it that our youth engagement and our youth programmes do not reflect these unique characteristics.
Have we become boring and unimaginative• Have we resorted to the safe and sterile• Have we put too much emphasis on the tried and tested• When I look around I see youth engagements and youth programmes, both in government and civil society, lacking vibrancy, energy and creativity.
It makes our youth development stale. This is not what we want because it does not reflect the unique characteristics of being young.
So I challenge you, as I challenge myself – Lets re-imagine youth development. Let’s push the boundaries. Let’s put ourselves out there. Let’s embark on this journey towards re-imaging youth development.
Let’s take youth development to that place where it encounters and fuses with the unique characteristics of being young. We want our youth development to be vibrant, energetic, creative, robust, resourceful, imaginative and original.
Let’s re-imagine youth development together.
Issued by: The Presidency
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