Minister in Presidency briefing on the Launch of the Youth Month (June) Programme


08 Jun 2009

Mr Collins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency, presented a statement on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) as well as government’s plans during Youth Month (June). Questions were asked about the African National Congress Youth League’s (ANCYL) intentions to place a flag and portrait of President Jacob Zuma in every primary school and the cost of the programmes. Answers were also sought to criticism that government youth functions focused on live entertainment, rather than proposals to deal with issues affecting the youth.


Q: A question was asked as to whether the government was working with the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) to further the latter’s intention of providing every primary school with a national flag and portrait of President Jacob Zuma.

A: Mr Chabane replied that the ANCYL had its own plan of action for Youth Month and that he expected other organizations may also have their own plans and budget independent of government. He elaborated further that the ANCYL plan was related to President Zuma’s State of Nation address wherein he urged all South Africans to be patriotic.

Q: A question was asked about the cost of the programme.

A: Mr Chabane responded that many of the stakeholders and institutions were paying for their
(respective) programmes out of their individual budgets as part of their obligations to interface with the youth, and as such he could not provide a figure of the actual costs involved. He emphasised that government would only be responsible for the national, not provincial programmes.

Q: A journalist asked the Minister to respond to the criticism made by the Congress of the People (Cope) that programmes of this nature focused mainly on entertainment at the expense of the needs of the youth. In addition, a journalist argued that focus on the youth should not be limited to one month.

A: Mr Chabane answered that the government could not be responsible for what political parties do and that parties such as the Inkatha Freedom Part (IFP) and Cope would run their own Youth month celebrations. He admitted that he would be surprised if there was no entertainment in the government’s
programmes but refused to be apologetic about the presence of entertainment acts. In response to the last issue raised, he stated that Youth Month was only used to raise awareness around youth programmes, but that their application would run throughout the year.

The briefing was adjourned.


09 JUNE 2009


Good day and thank you for being with us today. 

 As you might all be aware, June marks an important period of our democracy as this is the month we are reminded of the immense contribution made by the country’s young people in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The images of 16 June 1976 are still fresh in our minds as scores of young people faced the full might of the apartheid police during a peaceful march against an unjust education system in what came to be known as the Soweto Uprising. The events of 16th June are but a representation of what other young people across South Africa were at the time faced with.

It has been more than three decades on, therefore, we cannot forget the contribution of these young people who at a very difficult period in South Africa’s history, identified a course for themselves within the broader struggle for freedom and directed all their energies and courage towards (and indeed at times sacrificed their lives for) liberating our country. Today, therefore, we launch Youth Month activities to celebrate the heroism of the 1976 generation. It is in that spirit that we recommit ourselves and young people in particular to fully identify and fulfil the course of young people. 

Over the years, we have consciously monitored the effectiveness and efficacy of our youth development interventions and arrived at the conclusion that while we have covered much ground in advancing youth development, the trajectory we have been following has not necessarily been sustainable. The most fundamental problem with our interventions was the fragmented manner in which youth development was structured and the institutional arrangement tended to follow this configuration. We learnt fundamental lessons from that experience.

The highlight of this year’s Youth Month is the launch and the establishment of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) - formed out of the merger of the National Youth Commission (NYC) and Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) - as primary custodians of youth development in the country.  The NYDA will be formally launched on 16 June 2009, as pronounced by the President in his State of the Nations Address. The launch of the NYDA forms part of the National Youth Month events to be championed by The Presidency. The 16th of June will be marked by a series of activities and events such as the laying of a wreath at the Hector Peterson Memorial and a National Youth Rally in Katlehong Stadium, Ekurhuleni.

The mandate of the NYDA is primarily a developmental institution focused on advancing youth development through guidance and support to initiatives across sectors of society and spheres of government. NYDA is also mandated to embark on initiatives that seek to advance the economic development of young people. Similarly, the NYDA is mandated to develop and co-ordinate the implementation of the Integrated Youth Development Plan and Strategy for the country which will serve as a guiding instrument in advancing youth development at all levels.

In paying homage to the life of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, remembering the 30th anniversary of his brutal slaying by the apartheid regime (as well as that of many others), we must redouble our efforts in ensuring that youth development becomes an integral part of our everyday lives.
It is therefore fitting that as we celebrate the strides made by our youth in shaping their own destiny, we breathe life into the National Youth Development Agency which has the enormous task to set the agenda and provide leadership in ensuring that youth development interventions are implemented in a cohesive, structured, seamless, and integrated manner.

As we celebrate Youth Month, we are mindful of the vast challenges that still lie ahead in respect of access to quality education by our young people, their health and well-being, economic participation and social inclusion. In addition, it is important to highlight that dealing with these challenges effectively depends on a strengthened partnership between the public sector, the private sector, and civil society so as to give more impetus to youth development. In this regard, The Presidency will explore mechanisms to revive with immediate effect, the Youth Development Forum (YDF), a public-private sector initiative that seeks to support youth development.

The programme of activities is designed to respond to challenges that are facing young people in South Africa. The programme promotes the participation of young people in the economy and creates platforms to market their work i.e. the Department of Trade and Industry will be hosting the International Cooperatives Conference which will include cooperatives enterprise exhibition owned by young people in Kwazulu-Natal. There are also career exhibitions to provide career guidance including an ICT Career Summit hosted by the Department of Communications to encourage young people to take up careers in the sector. 

The South African Police Service will also be running programmes to mobilise young people to act against the scourge of crime through participation in sports and cultural activities. There will also be discussion forums against gangsterism in the Northern Cape. 

In an effort to ensure that young people take advantage of FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup opportunities, the Mpumalanga Youth Commission will be hosting a 2010 Seminar for unemployed graduates, in the field of marketing and tourism, to empower them to market 2010 within communities. This will allow these young people to gain work experience in their field of study.

In closing, we all owe it to the generations before us who through their bravery and commitment to the cause of our youth ensured that the youth agenda occupies centre stage in our nation’s developmental agenda. The struggles of South Africa’s youth can never be in vain and we must continue to rededicate ourselves to their cause and advance their ideals as best as we can. The brutality of yester year meted out against our youth must never be repeated. The sacrifices of the 1976 generation and many others that followed in their footsteps must inspire us in advancing youth development. 

I thank you.


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