Address by Minister Des Van Rooyen at the Youth Development Dialogue

Posted on Posted in Minister Des Van Rooyen

17 June 2016

Westonaria

 

Programme Director,

Executive Mayor of Westonaria, Councillor Nonkoliso Tundzi,

NYDA representatives,

IDC representatives,

Youth participants,

 

It is an honour to join you today as we celebrate Youth Month.

 

The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising.

 

During that time the apartheid government spent R644 on the education of a white child, and only R42 on the education of a black child.

 

The apartheid police killed 176 people, many of them young children, in June that year.

One of the first people to be killed was 13-year old Hector Pieterson.

 

I mention these tragic events to remind us how far we have travelled as a nation.

 

The theme for this year’s Youth Month is: “Youth Moving South Africa Forward.”

 

Today we have a government that is committed to the uplifitment of all its people.

 

Today we have a government that cares.

 

Today we have a government that listens to its citizens.

 

Which is why we are here today!

 

To listen to you – your views, your concerns, your future!!!

 

That future will be decided in just under two months from now, on 03 August.

 

I’m hoping that all of you have registered to vote.

 

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has indicated that 26,3 million voters have registered to vote – the highest number ever in the history of South Africa.

 

Of these 2,6 million are new voters.

 

5,7 million voters are below the age of 30.

 

On Friday, 03 June, the IEC published the Voters’ Roll for inspection.

 

On Friday, 10 June, the IEC will open applications for Special Votes.

On Tuesday, 14 June the Constitutional Court ruled that the IEC may proceed with the conducting of elections on 03 August.

 

These are further steps towards the holding of free and fair elections.

 

This leaves us in no doubt that the vision of a strong democracy envisaged in the Freedom Charter is alive and well.

 

If some of you would like to contribute to strengthening this democracy you may also register as an Observer.

 

Besides viewing voting procedures, Observers also keep an eye on the counting of votes, and the determination and declaration of results.

 

I believe that if more youth took this approach of contributing to our democracy, it will carry us further than merely waiting for government to bring a solution to the challenges we face as a country.

 

Our youth,

 

Last year we marked the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

 

The signing of the Freedom Charter was driven by young people of the day.

 

The newly-formed ANC Youth League, led by Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo led the Congress Movement, which was made up of the ANC, the SA Indian Congress, the Coloured People’s Organisation and the Congress of Democrats.

 

The Freedom Charter is noted for its commitment to a non-racial South Africa.

 

It also called for democracy and human rights, land reform, labour rights, and nationalization.

 

This document has formed the cornerstone of ANC policies for decades.

 

Long before it became fashionable to talk about “radical economic transformation” and “economic freedom,” the ANC had already called for these goals to be achieved.

 

In fact we have delivered on many of the aspirations espoused in the Freedom Charter.

 

Today, the People do govern this country – which is why you, the people, will be able to elect the leaders of your choice, come the 3rd of August.

 

Today, all National Groups do have equal rights – just ask Penny Sparrow – last week the Equality Court fined her R150 000, after we the ANC, laid a charge against her for her racist utterings.

 

Today, the People do share in the country’s wealth – The massive mineral wealth of our country has been transferred to the ownership of the state on behalf of the people.

 

We are committed to working with South Africa’s people to ensure that there is enhanced benefit from this ownership.

 

Today our mothers, fathers and children occupy more areas of the economy than before the advent of democracy in 1994.

 

Today, the Land is being shared – it may not happen as fast as we would like – but it is happening.

 

Just last month our Parliament passed the Expropriation Bill, which will allow government to expropriate land and other property in pursuit of land reform.

 

Today, All are Equal before the law – This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Constitution.

Whether you are the President or whether you are Oscar Pistorius, you are still subject to the laws of the land.

 

Last month we also said goodbye to renowned Constitutional Court Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke.

 

This was a man who at the age of 15, was imprisoned on Robben Island for 10 years for participating in anti-apartheid activity.

 

His name and those of Mbuyisa Makhubu, Hector Pieterson, Hastings Ndlovu, Antoinette Sithole and many others should not be forgotten.

 

Young men and women,

 

Under this ANC government more people have access to housing, better and more equal access to basic services, more households have electricity, there have been enormous advances in healthcare and education and economic opportunities have been opened to the people.

 

Access to electricity increased from 69.7% in 2001 to 86% in 2014.

 

That’s 5,8 million households that now have electricity.

 

The percentage of households with access to piped water increased from 61.3% in 2001 to 90%in 2014.

 

Households receiving Free Basic Water services increased from 7,2 million in 2007 to 11,7 million in 2013.

 

Access to basic sanitation services from 62.3% to 79.5%.

 

Average life expectancy increased from 53.4 years in 2004 to 62.5 years in 2015.

 

Between 2004 and 2014, the Expanded Public Works Programme created over 5 million work opportunities for poor and unemployed people.

 

The Department of Cooperative Governance’s Community Work Programme created over 220 000 work opportunities in the last financial year.

 

42% of these were youth beneficiaries.

 

We have changed lives and we continue to change lives through our policies.

 

We are committed to realising the aspirations of the Freedom Charter.

 

With just 22 years in government we have achieved most of the goals that the Freedom Charter has spelt out.

 

We call on you the Youth to also play your part.

 

Many of the services you may take for granted such as water and electricity were denied to my generation and those of your parents.

 

What will you do with these added advantages that our commitment to the Freedom Charter has delivered to you?

 

This country needs a combination of skills.

 

We cannot build a better country on university education alone.

 

We need engineers, artisans, quantity surveyors, electricians and plumbers to also build this new South Africa.

 

In 1976 the Youth did not matter. Today this government acknowledges you as the future of our country.

 

Our hope. Our dreams. Our future. Rests with you.

The National Youth Policy 2020 states that the youth want a Hand Up, not a Handout.

 

The Gauteng Government launched the Gauteng Tshepo 500 000 employment creation and entrepreneurship development programme aimed at training, skilling and mentoring 500 000 young people, in 2014.

 

The Gauteng Government is currently hosting a “Youth Career, Jobs and Entrepreneurship Expo” that will run until 20 June.

 

I urge you to attend this event. It is a great opportunity for you to learn about job opportunities and how to develop small and medium enterprises.

 

Let us stop complaining about the problems and capitalise on the opportunities.

 

The youth of 1976 freed themselves.

 

What are you doing to make the most of the opportunities that we have provided?

 

What are you doing to free yourselves?

 

This month we lost The Greatest.

 

Somebody who became the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion when he was just 22 years old.

 

Somebody was also in his youth in the ‘70s – the Greatest of All Time, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.

 

This is what our former President Tata Madiba had to say about Ali:

 

“Muhammad Ali was not just my hero, but the hero of millions of young, black South Africans…”

 

Ali inspired generations of youth not only by his fights in the ring, but also his fights for racial justice and religious tolerance.

 

His strength and courage in the face of adversity are an inspiration to all of us.

 

Long after his fists stopped talking, his simple humanity touched the lives of millions.

 

It was Ali who said that:

 

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

 

Today we continue to fight the good fight.

 

As the Freedom Charter states:

 

“These freedoms we will fight for, side by side, throughout our lives, until we have won our liberty.”

 

Let’s continue fighting for a better South Africa.

 

I thank you.