Speech by Hon Shirley Makubela-Mashele during the National Assembly`s debate on the State of the Nation Address

20 February 2013

Honourable Speaker
Your Excellency, President and Deputy President
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members,

Angistaste lelitfuba, nginibingele nine Bekunene, Nine Bakalazitse, nine lena cedza Lubombo nguhlehletela,

The President in the SONA, gave South Africa a programme of action, in which His Government will embark on to better the lives of Our People.

Your Excellency, You reminded us of a number of government interventions that are responsive to the plight of our Youth AND Rural Women.

Notably: You Spoke on

  • The National Rural Youth Services Corps as a programme to train and develop the youth to be agents of change in rural communities. This programme has enrolled 11 740 young people in various training programmes.
  • The youth are trained in among others Animal production, Farm Management and various other fields.
  • Some of these young people have started their own enterprises and others are absorbed in the department.

I have heard some say this is just a lip service to programmes designed to skill the youth. The records are clear and there are young people who can bear testimony to the success of this Particular programme

Plans for Rural Youth Hubs should also be hailed as they will immensely contribute to the betterment of the livelihood of the youth in rural areas, where poverty and unemployment is more pervasive.

I heard you call out to Business to afford young graduates from FET Colleges opportunities to enter the Labour Market. This Mr President is a genuine call that should be made by all of us who are advocates for change.

Without any doubt, youth unemployment is one of the toughest challenges facing all of us and which warrants collective efforts from government and the private sector.

The plight of South African youth needs to be confronted with no amount of opportunism and political expediency!

If the opposition were not hypocrites of the worst order, They would come out and call for Business to afford Young Graduates a chance to enter the labour market.

Honourable Members,

We should desist from advocating for initiatives that are open to many interpretations and abuse.

It is perhaps important to set the record straight that no one scheme or model alone will solve challenges of youth unemployment.

The implementation design of the Youth Wage Subsidy proposal, as introduced by the National Treasury, is but one of the instruments that needs a thorough understanding. There is a need to guard against displacement of the older worker.

We welcome the NEDLAC process that has culminated into an Accord that will be signed later this month.

The envisaged youth incentive scheme should have training, skilling and placement at its centre.

A country that does not invest in Education will not develop. We call upon Young people and Women to continuously pursue further and higher education and training.

One Icon once said, "Ignorance will be the downfall of The Nation" I echo in his sentiments and quote from the Holy Book which tells us that ‘My people Perish from a Lack of Knowledge.

Therefore it is incumbent upon You as a Young person to equip yourself with the necessary Skills and knowledge to be ready for Lifes challenges and opportunities.

Entrepreneurship should be encouraged as another means of breaking the inter-generational poverty trap and job creation.

  • The NYDA like any other public entity should be held accountable and its outcomes should be in direct proportion to the resources injected.
  • Financial injections to the entity should lean more towards youth empowerment initiatives than procurement, staffing and other institutional arrangements.
  • Youth Unemployment knows no political affiliation, and as such Funding and other interventions of the NYDA should reach out to ordinary Youth beyond political circles.
  • Youth development should be professionalized, it cannot be that it is only championed through political activism.
  • None partisan youth formations should not be marginalized as they equally have an important role to play.
  • Common ground has to be reached by both the NYDA and The Ministry for Women, Children and People with disabilities, to ensure that there is no duplication in work directed at children and the youth.

We are However, encouraged by efforts of the NYDA of providing start-up capital to young South Africans who pursue entrepreneurial paths.

Since its inception the NYDA has managed to create about 73 920 Jobs,

It has offered young aspiring and established entrepreneurs, 33 975 loans to the value of R97 Million in the three financial years since its inception.

To ensure the sustainability of such ventures, coaching and mentoring to these emerging entrepreneurs should be emphasized.

The Burden of youth development should not only be shared by few departments, we make a plea that each and every government departments and their Entities, parastatal, Agencies and Beneficiary of Government Funding, should be role players in advancing youth development.

Credit should be given where it is due. As such, we applaud all stakeholders who continue to place youth development at the centre of their programmes of action.

Honorable Members,

It cannot be that whenever someone smells flowers, asks, "who is dead?", not realizing that they are in a garden.

Allow me Speaker to conclude by quoting words from one of the Great Leaders, who paved the way to the freedom we are enjoying today, Tata Rholihlahla Nelson Mandela,

I quote

"We know it well, that none of us acting alone can achieve success".

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves". Close Quote:

To take Tata Nelson Mandelas words further, let us for a second try to...

Imagine a country where all citizens, young and old, are informed about and engaged in all major issues that affect their lives.

A place where adults and young people are together at the table; debating, grappling with problems, crafting solutions and jointly deciding on how resources should be allocated.

Where young people have an equal opportunity to have a sustainable livelihood.

Having equal opportunities entails leveling the battle field, there cannot be equality without redress.

That`s the South Africa, that each one of us Must Build and work towards,

Thank You!