Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela has called on the youth of South Africa to push the boundaries and claim their future by starting to “re-imagining” 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,” Manamela said on Sunday.
He was speaking at the opening of the National Consultative Conference to discuss the draft National Youth Policy(NYP) 2015-2020 in Johannesburg. .
Taking into consideration the National Development Plan 2030, the Industrial policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path and the African Youth Charter, the drafting of the new policy process was initiated last year were young people made inputs and expressed their needs, interests and aspirations.
The policy framework outlines the development plan for young people over the next five years.
The NYP 2020 covers areas such as access to education, skills, competence development, employment and sustainable livelihoods, youth leadership and participation, health and welfare, peace and security, environment protection and cultural and moral values.
The current draft improves upon and updates the previous policy, signed in 2009 by the late Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, by speaking to new and continuing challenges faced by South Africa’s youth.
It identifies poverty, inequality and unemployment as the main challenges that face our youth. It further declares that for us to resolve these three major challenges we must get young people educated, skilled, and fully support their entrepreneurial ideas.
Extensive and vigorous consultation process- were the youth were provided abundant opportunities through meetings, panel discussions, social media platforms and various other means to make submissions into the national youth policy have been undertaken.
The deputy minister says the re-imagining youth development with this NYP2020- which he described as “hand up rather than a hand out.”
Posing questions to the delegates- Manamela asked how do we change the economy? How do we change its ownership and control?
These are questions, he said, that are not only for economists and policy makers but questions that young people must directly engage.
“Your ideas and your views are important on these matters and you must articulate them. We need innovative youth entrepreneurs and youth co-operatives. These fresh ideas must propel young people to find a niche in the economy and transform it.”
On skill development, Manamela urged the conference attended by young people from around the country and nationally organised youth structures- to help government make education fashionable.
He said government has to improve the access to education and at the same time improve the quality of education.
The country also needs to introspect on what the youth is studying
“Are young people studying towards the qualifications that are needed by labour market? Are we persuading young people to study towards the needs and opportunities of a changing economy?”
Manamela used his address tp weigh in on race and ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ debate -which calls for the statue of Cecil John Rhodes be removed from the University of Cape Town. Manamela recognised the campaign saying it is encouraging to note that youth activists have taken a stand at the UCT and around the country.
“Their youthful energy in challenging the powers that be over racist symbols is inspiring. It opens up opportunities for a constructive racial discourse. It opens up opportunities to redefine the future. ”
Their brave actions, he continued have dispelled the notion that South Africa’s youth are depoliticised and apathetic.
“Young people should take aantage of this momentum. Let’s take the transformation discourse beyond symbols. Let’s lead this discourse towards the transformation of the economy and beyond.”
The Deputy Minister in also launched a Mxit application called “Isago” meaning “My Future” in the Setswana language.
The app will allow the youth to track progress and implementation of the National Youth Policy 2020 and to remain engaged with government.
Also speaking at the conference- Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi said committed the Gauteng government to including the youth into the province’s Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation strategy – which is set to change the economic opportunities in the province.
Many delegates welcomed the draft policy. Delegate Mpho Ndebele told SAnews that the policy if implemented “willcan change the future of South Africa for ever.”
However she said its implementation needs to be made everyone’s business going forward.
The conference continues on Monday.
Source : SAnews.gov.za