SPEECHES

Remarks of the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi, MP, at the Ministerial Youth Engagement, Mdantsane, East London, Buffalo City Municipality, Eastern Cape Province

Date: 1 Jun 2016

The Premier of Eastern Cape Province

Minister Faith Muthambi

Members of the Executive Council

Executive Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Buffalo City Municipality

Councillors

Directors-General and Senior Managers present

The SABC Chief Operations Officer

Our esteemed guests - the youth!

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am indeed privileged and honoured to be in the midst of you today, more so, among the young people of this Metro Council and at the Eastern Cape at large who are the future leaders of our country.

Today marks the beginning of the Youth Month and how appropriate that we are gathered here, as a caring government, to engage with the youth. Despite all the challenges and difficulties which yourselves as the young people of our country are facing, nothing can bring positive results than engaging with your government. Destroying and vandalising property in the name of protest is not a civilised way to voice your grievances. As the theme of the 2016 says, "Youth Moving South Africa Forward," you have a responsibility to ensure that your actions make a positive contribution to the development of this country.

On 16 June this year, it will be the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprisings and other related youth uprisings in South Africa. You may argue, as the youth of today, and say you also have the right protest against government but, in 1976, the youth we faced with the challenges of an oppressive regime. On the other hand, yourselves live under a caring, progressive and democratic government led by the ANC.

When the first democratic government was elected into power under the leadership of the ANC, in the process of dismantling all the oppressive and segregative laws, we also focused on empowering the young people. As the government, we had an obligation to ensure that the deaths and struggles of young people like Solomon Mahlangu, Tsietsi Mashinini, Hector Peterson, Peter Mokaba and many others, were not in vain.

Compatriots:

Today, the democratic government has ensured that the needs of the youth in our country are addressed through establishment of government entities like the National Students Financial Aid Scheme, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (P-SETA) and locally here in your municipality, the Buffalo City Youth Council and Buffalo City Local Economic Development.

As part of the P-SETA and DPSA joint venture programme, an offer to the Buffalo City Municipality to host a certain number of graduates in the areas of infrastructure planning, development, operation and maintenance has been finalized. This includes a number of undergraduate students who can be earmarked for retention into the municipality's employment. We need not emphasize that the assistance will be in the form of registration with relevant professional body while the city hosts the individuals for the duration of time as determined by the relevant professional bodies.

For undergraduates, the assistance will be in the form of a bursary to the value of R45000.00 per person for two years. Therefore, the latter must be individuals who are starting or already in their second years of study in the identified fields.

As government, we have created platforms, which, yourselves as the youth should utilise to achieve your academic, career and economic opportunities. The onus is upon you to take these opportunities and empower yourselves. An empowered youth today means South Africa will have empowered leaders in the future.

In the Public Service, government has introduced Internship and Learnership programmes which empower the youth who graduated from tertiary institutions, with the requisite skills for the job market. We would like the youth to explore the opportunities offered by the Public Service in all spheres of government as we would like to make the Public Service an employer of choice.

In conclusion:

The youth of today dare fail former President Nelson Mandela, who declared, "I admire young people who are concerned with the affairs of their community and nation perhaps because I also became involved in struggle whist I was still at school. I appeal to the Youth and those on the ground: start talking to each other across divisions of race and political organisations. I pay tribute to the endless heroism of youth." Close quote

As we celebrate Youth Month, we are here as the national, provincial and local government, to engage with you the youth of the Eastern Cape. We are here to demonstrate to you that as Government, We Belong (to you), We Care (about you), We Serve (you).

I thank you.


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