Pretoria - South Africa must give youth development the attention it deserves, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) said on Wednesday.
"Let's change the situation whilst we still have time," the agency's chairperson Andile Lungisa said.
He was speaking at the release of a document entitled National Youth Policy Implementation Guidelines. He bemoaned the fact that some Grade 12 learners were unable to read and write properly while some graduates could not even put together a job application letter.
The guidelines sought to encourage the speedy implementation of the National Youth Policy that was approved by Cabinet in 2009. The policy was developed as a national response to the challenges facing the country's youth. It intends to address the needs of the youth in South Africa ensuring that they access the opportunities that enable them to grow.
Lungisa said the NYDA had decided to release the guidelines after monitoring what he described as a "disappointing pace" of the implementation of the policy.
"We have a youth policy in South Africa but it is not being implemented and maybe people don't know what to do. So these guidelines will hopefully help because the document gives both the public and private sector ideas on how to put youth development at the centre of planning and implementation of activities that inform their business continuously."
The agency's CEO Stephen Ngobeni said while some departments were making progress in ensuring youth development was mainstreamed, others still lagged behind.
"At the end of the day we all have to calculate what impact youth development is making and the policy seeks to achieve that."
Lungisa said the document made it clear how officials should play a role in mainstreaming youth development in all three spheres of government.
It has been presented to Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, with the NYDA also scheduled to meet President Jacob Zuma over the implementation of the national youth policy.
"Section 6 and 7 of the National Youth Development Agency Act gives the agency powers to coordinate and ensure that organs of State take into consideration the national youth development priorities in the activities of their business... the NYDA is confident that through systematic efforts, organs of state, private companies and civil society will be able to contribute to make significant progress in matters of youth development," said Lungisa.
Over the coming months, the NYDA will be lobbying for the amendment of the Act "to give it more teeth". Once the Act is amended, the NYDA says it will be more enforceable.