Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul during the 43rd Youth Day commemoration, Die Kraal Sportgronde, Calvinia

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Maymesse en raadslede
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Dames en here
 
Dit is vir my en die lede van die Provinsiale Regering ‘n groot plesier en eer om vandag met julle te wees vir Jeugdagvieringe. Hierdie, is soos ons alreeds gehoor het, ‘n dag waar ons die die heldhaftige dade van jong vroue en mans herdenk wie se lewens kort geknip was om te verseker dat ons almal vandag ons vryheid kan geniet. Hierdie jaar is die drie en veertigste (43de) herdenking van jeug dag onder die tema:  "25 Jaar van demokrasie: 'n viering van jeug Aktivisme". Vanjaar se jeug maand val saam met die herdenking van 25 jaar van vryheid en demokrasie. Dit kom ook minder as 'n maand sedert President Cyril Ramaphosa in gesweer as die President van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika en leier van hierdie sesde administrasie.
 
Ladies and gentlemen
I think we are in agreement that South Africa is a better place to live in after 25 years of freedom and together we can build on the achievements of the past 25 years. Tremendous strides have been made over the last 25 years that improved our peoples’ socio-economic rights such as housing, water, education, social development and healthcare to all. If I were just to take education as an example; it is worth noting that the value of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has increased from R70 million in 1994 to nearly R15 billion in 2018. This has contributed to the enrolment of students doubling from 1994 to over two million in 2018. Last year free higher education at first year level for students from poor and working class families earning below R350 000 was introduced.   
 
This makes us hopeful but there is however a need to identify innovative ways of addressing the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality, which is still firmly entrenched amongst our youth in the country and our own Province. Youth forms the greatest part of the population and remains one of the key vulnerable groups experiencing higher levels of social ills than the rest of the population. For this reason, we need to join hands as Government, business and our communities to jointly identify strategic interventions to fast-track radical economic transformation, social transformation, environmental sustainability and good governance. One of the ways that we will effectively defeat these triple challenges is by making a deliberate investment in the skilling, training and re-training of our Youth.
 
When I was inaugurated as the Premier of this beautiful Northern Cape, full of potential, I introduced the vision of a Modern, Growing, Successful Province. I also committed myself to be an activist Premier with activist Members of the Executive Council where there will be no state hierarchy but the existence of a task-based relationship between us and the people of this Province. We are here to disrupt the focus on personal gain and do away with frills by focussing our entire energy on improving the lives of the poor and addressing the plight of our youth. This will take centre stage in our programme as this 6th administration.
 
It can never be business as usual when there is an unemployment rate of 26% in the Province according to the first Quarter Labour Survey of this year. What this tells us is that our youth, either as a member of a household or as head of a household, form part of the highest number of people that go hungry in this Province. Worrisome is also the fact that according to the last Quarter Survey of 2018, 43.2% of youth in this Province find themselves in the category of ‘Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)’. What is disturbing that when youth were interviewed as to this state of affairs, two mains reasons were given:
38,1% “ having no money for fees”  
33,3% “satisfied with level of education
 
This can never be allowed and demands that we as the state must intervene and create a favourable environment in which young people can live up to their full potential. Urgent intervention is especially required in educating and skilling our youth because education levels are strongly linked to the prospects of finding employment and reducing poverty. We need our youth take up the lead like the youth of ‘76 for access to equal and quality education for all. We need social activists like the Supreme Cadets in Atteridgeville that led a 3km graduation walk yesterday to motivate the youth of Atteridgeville to seek education as a tool of empowerment.
 
Dames en Here
Ek het ook vir julle 'n onderneming gegee dat daar twee onmiddellike en belangrike fokus areas vir hierdie Administrasie sal wees, hoofsaaklik in die gebiede van gesondheid en onderwys aangesien hierdie twee Deprtemente die grootste deel van die Provinsiale begroting opneem. Dit sal die kritieke areas van hierdie regering wees waar ons veranderinge moet maak en die situasie omdraai vir die voordeel van die mense van die Provinsie in die algemeen en die jeug in die besonder. Dit sal verg dat ons al ons hande stewig aan die ploeg moet stel. 
 
Ten einde 'n moderne, groeiende, suksesvolle te Provinsie daar te stel, moet ons 'n omgewing skep wat  ons jong mense bloot stel aan geleenthede wat dit moontlik sal maak vir hulle om mee te ding met ander jong mense regoor die land en die wêreld. As 'n onmiddellike ingryping, het ons ons verbind tot die stiging van 'n “War Room” op werkloosheid, wat hoofsaaklik op jeugwerkloosheid sal fokus. Hierdie ‘War Room’ sal  sorg vir koördinering oor die Provinsiale en Plaaslike vlakke van Regering sodat ons ‘n Strategiese benadering tot jeug werkskepping kan het en sodoende meer kwaliteit werke kan skep
 
Ladies and gentlemen
The lack of required skills for the Northern Cape economy limits it ability to grow the economy and key skills that drive the economy are not in place. For this reason we are implementing immediate interventions for our youth, which will see the province rolling out skills development programmes across the province targeting the youth and unemployed. The programme is being implemented by our Provincial agency, the Northern Cape Economic Development Agency (NCEDA) and stands to benefit 3000 beneficiaries on various critical skills needed in the province. The first intake for this programme will be now in July. Stipends will also be paid for the duration of the training which will help cover some of their basic necessities. Those who have undergone the training will then be placed with various institutions for practical training, with the hope that employment opportunities will arise at these institutions.  
 
In addition, as part of our commitment to addressing issues of youth marginalisation, social mobilisation and strengthening institutional youth development structures at community level, we currently fund 26 Youth Service Centres that are spread throughout the Province. These centres will be targetting over 85,000.young people over the next three years. These Centres provide young people access to ICT services, which are essential, especially in rural areas, to assist with access to educational, employment and other opportunities.  
 
In keeping with the vision of a modern, growing and successful Province, we are pleased to announce that the 26 Youth Service Centres across the Province will become fully fledged ICT Centres, with access to Wi-Fi.  One Youth Service Centre per District will be transformed into a fully-fledged Digital Centre which will focus on Digital literacy and entrepreneurship. This is part of our strategy to prepare young people to take full advantage of the potential employment and other opportunities arising out of the digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
 
As part of the strategy of bring youth services closer to communities, these Youth Service Centres will further serve as Multi-Purpose Centres, where youth can access a range of youth services provided by relevant Government Departments. This includes linking young people to business enterprise and support services. We are aware that the Youth Service Centre here in Calvinia is facing some challenges but we have instructed the Department of Social Development, to as a matter of urgency, come up with a workable solution for this centre.  
 
We will also fast-track internet connectivity to all 223 provincial libraries, starting with the connectivity of 180 libraries.  The idea is to use these community libraries and Youth Service Centres as key implementation sites for the establishment of Hotspots in order to target low-income communities for purposes of education, access to economic opportunities and ensuring social inclusion. Work is also being done to appoint “IT Cadets” to assist communities and especially young people in accessing Government services and other related opportunities.
 
Contact crimes and crimes against women and children are still posing a challenge in this Province. Poverty and unemployment amongst youth play a big role in the commission of crimes such as property related crime, drug related crime and contact crimes. Substance abuse contributes to the violent nature of crime, and other social ills. Strong focus is therefore being placed on development and empowerment programmes that look at the psycho- social support services to young people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and community- based treatment services for those affected by substance abuse.  The recently launched Substance Abuse Treatment Centre, a first in the Province, provides a 12 week treatment programme, which includes a dedicated youth intake. To further cushion young people from drug and alcohol abuse, we will establish two more centres in Seoding and Postmasburg for victims of violence and sexual abuse.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that it is becoming clear that Government has heard the cries of our youth here in Calvinia, in Lerato Park, Thuli Mandonsela, Sonder Water and others and we will respond speedily to your issues as mandated by the “Khawuleza Campaign” of President Cyril Ramaphosa. We are an activist Government and In short, we want young people to support our course by becoming social activists in their communities. Further plans detailing our efforts for youth development and empowerment will be made known in my State of the Province Address early next month. 
 
For now, we are resolute that our youth must gain the right skills to grow the economy and therefore we are making a plea to our communities to work with us to ensure that young people finish secondary school and gain the necessary skills to help us grow our Province. 
 
Dames en here, 
My kernboodskap aan die jeug vandag is om om saam met ons te werk om die visie van ‘n moderne, groeiende en suksesvolle Provinsie ‘n realiteit te maak. Die Noordkaap van vandag kan oor vyf en tien jaar van nou af nie dieselfde wees nie. Ons doen dus ‘n beroep op gemeenskappe en besighede om saam met ons te werk en uit te stuig bo dit wat julle tans vashou en die ketting van hopeloosheid verbreek. 
 
Laat ek dus afsluit deur ons weereens te herhinner dat die jeug die grootste deel uitmaak van ons bevolking en daarom sal hulle heel bo op die agenda van hierdie sesde Administrasie wees. Daar sal geen verskoning aanvar word wat nie daarop gemik is om die jeug die fokus punt van ons ekonomiese agenda te maak nie. Dit sal ons doen as 'n huldeblyk aan die opofferings en bydraes van die jeug van 1976 en tot eer van Oliver Reginald Tambo wat ons herhinner dat ‘n nasie wat nie die waarde van sy jeug waardeer nie, nie ‘n toekoms verdien nie. 
Baie dankie

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