Speech by Judith Tshabalala (ANC), MP, in the State of the Nation Address debate 2014

18 February 2014, National Assembly, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Topic: The Economy, Jobs and Skills in the context of the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP)

Honourable Speaker
Honourable President
Honourable Deputy President
Honourable Ministers and Deputies
Honourable Members of Parliament
Distinguished guests

In his State of the Nation Address 2014, President Zuma noted with concern that despite the decline in the unemployment rate during the fourth quarter of 2013, the unemployment rate still remains high and that youth unemployment in South Africa continues to be of concern. In saying this he noted that this phenomenon is not unique to South Africa but is a continental issue and Global phenomena.

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) was introduced in 2004 as one of the measures to reduce the negative impacts of such high and persistent levels of unemployment. It aims to provide the unemployed with an opportunity to work and an avenue to contribute to developing their communities and country.

We should remember that the ANC lead government inherited a government that had no interest in the majority of young people; there were no youth development structures except to put them in jail and murdering us.

Honourable President:

The hegemony of our movement must take a clearer shape and meaning. The roll-out of youth empowerment and development programmes to all youth in our country, rural and urban, farms, townships and suburbs, can`t afford any delays

The EPWP public employment programmes extend over numerous sectors which include Community Work Programme (CWP), Infrastructure, Social Sector public employment programmes, Environment & Culture sector, and Non- profit Organisations

Since the start of the second Phase, 3.5 million work opportunities In the 2012/13 financial year alone

In Gauteng, Ekurhuleni Metro`s Thembisa Township there is a project named Thembisa Youth Empowerment. This project ties a number of Public Bodies together. You find in it spheres of government working together, through departments and government entities within them. Private sector is also drawn in to play a role.

Ekhurhuleni FET college,PUBLIC Works,DTI, Solar geyser Training offered to 266 learners, Skill acquired, Certificate and Cooperative opened.

They were given training to repair and install geysers, Young people are excited about it. They are enthusiastic. They found career for themselves which they are confident about.

People living with disabilities

Northern Cape: Ikhaya` lethu has employed 181 beneficiaries in the province. Of these 15% are people with disabilities. Through this, 20% received permanent employment in the mining industry, 7% within the Department of Education, 5% in health, 10% within South African Social Security Agency, 30% at the Department of Social Development and 19% have been employed in retail.

The EPWP achieves far more, however, than only providing income to the most needy. It also improves the lives of the poor by providing a wide range of services and assets.

The ANC manifesto clearly sets out the target of 6 m job opportunities this is achievable and a reality.

The youth must learn from history, to be able to contribute in the present and successfully Master the future.

To young people future is a reality, not merely a dream. This is the very reason that the firm responsibility of our movement should be to ensure proper and efficient investment in young people, that said I salute the ANC for the willingness it has shown to building a new layer and guiding it through, not others who Reward the youth a Title: Leader of...whilst not allowing that young person to first learn how to crawl then walk, that type of youth will forever suffer from Mental slavery and later develop what is called `Late Adolescent` by merely passing stages of life and assuming responsibility of Colonizing our Youth. Being Youth is not only age, its the state of mind.

In conclusion:

As the youth of the 1940s and 1970s did not disappoint the finest cause of our people, we dare not fail to even do more to defend the gains of the revolution. Our responsibility should be to do, in the words of Fidel Castro, `all and everything for the revolution and nothing against it`.

We must continue to sharpen our skills and broaden our political landscape, this to guard against falling prey to the vultures of doom. We will be guilty of lying if we make a claim that all is well. It is in our preparedness and discipline that, as youth, we will take forward the national cause. Joining the voice of popcorn civic organisations will not help us, but our continual support and engagement with our government will improve our cause.

As the youth we should seek to dictate the public debate agenda and not let the neo-liberal forces continue misleading the masses of our people. We should channel the youth into thinking positive and better interpret the programmes of moral regeneration in their everyday actions.

Amongst other multi-pronged strategy

EPWP - R 5, 8 billion
NSFAS -R 9 billion
JOBS FUND- R R10 billion
NYDA R 400 million

Honourable President let me take the opportunity to welcome the Presidential Youth Summit that should amongst other things come up with a programme of action that will be used as a Measurement tool in tracking progress done on the initiatives government has been taking in dealing with Development. Siyabonga!

(Keep Calm) WE ARE HERE! Indeed we have a good story to tell!