Interventions underway to address youth challenges

Friday, October 20, 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says several government departments are running a number of programmes that are aimed at empowering young people and addressing their challenges.

He was responding to a question asked by African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Amos Mahlalela about what government was doing to respond to youth challenges like HIV and youth unemployment.

The Deputy President said the Department of Small Business Development, for example, has an incentives programme for youth-owned cooperatives and a programme on business development for young people.

Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme has targets for work opportunities for young people, while the Department of Higher Education and Training has a very successful programme to combat HIV through engagement with students at TVET colleges and institutions of higher learning. 

“But government cannot successfully address these challenges alone. Strategic partnerships with the private sector and civil society groups are critical in unlocking empowerment opportunities. 

“One of the key initiatives that we are currently embarking on, in partnership with business, is the Youth Employment Service, which aims to empower one million unemployed youth over the next three years by offering them quality work experience,” he said.

Empowering young women

Government is implementing the She Conquers Campaign – in partnership with other stakeholders - for adolescent girls and young women. 

“The campaign targets adolescent girls and young women aged 15 - 24 and their male partners with the aim of decreasing new HIV infections, decreasing teenage pregnancies, keeping girls in school until matric, decreasing gender-based violence and increasing economic opportunities for young people.”

The Deputy President said the Thari programme, which was launched in Botshabelo last month, is another outstanding example of a partnership between government, NGOs and communities. 

The programme aims to ensure the safety of children and improve educational outcomes. Through the programme, qualified child and youth care workers prove children with life skills and provide psycho-social support to vulnerable children and their families. Women and children are empowered to protect themselves against abuse and exploitation. 

“The importance of such initiatives has been underscored by the recent case of 87 primary school girls in Soweto, who were allegedly sexually abused by a security guard. This is an atrocity that reflects the extent of the epidemic of abuse that is destroying the future of our children,” he said.

The Deputy President said it is an indictment on all citizens for this sort of crime to happen. 

“While the challenges facing youth are great, there are many important and valuable initiatives to empower young people and improve their lives. 

“By working together, we can deepen the impact and expand the reach of these initiatives and secure a better future for all our youth.” – SAnews.gov.za

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