Youth development a top priority for government

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Nosihle Shelembe

Johannesburg – South Africa’s youth must consider government as an ally for their development, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.

Speaking on Wednesday in Soweto, Johannesburg, during the launch of Youth Month, Minister Radebe said young people should not resolve to use violence as well as burn schools and university infrastructure to communicate their ideas.

He said it was important that the youth exercise their right to protest but they should not reverse the gains made by the democratic government, fought for by the youth of 1976, amongst others.

“The laws of the country encourage democratic resolutions to all problems. The Constitution remains the bedrock upon which the new democratic State is built,” Minister Radebe said.

This year marks 40 years since the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising, when hundreds of young people protested against the apartheid government and their imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

It was on this day that hundreds of young people lost their lives in the struggle for liberation, which started a revolt that spread to other parts of country, crafting today’s South Africa that is democratic, non-racist, non-sexist and belonging to all who live in it.

Minister Radebe encouraged youth to use the opportunities of education, which were opened by the democratic government, to empower themselves.

“As government, we commit ourselves towards ensuring the economic emancipation of young people through their integration into the mainstream economy.

“As the youth of our country, we encourage you to seize with both hands the democratic opportunities now availed to you, to utilise your enormous genius and energy to help transform our country,” he said.

Minister Radebe said freedom must empower the youth with skills and economic opportunities so that the dignity to which the Constitution alludes is the experience of all the people in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the families and victims of 16 June 1976, Granny Seape said the only tribute that can be paid to the families is a commitment by the government and the youth to build a strong education foundation, free from manipulation and violence.

“… The struggle of 1976 was all about equality in education. How sad indeed that the struggle should perish at the hands of arsonists.

“We call on the government to work together with the students, teachers and all involved in education to build an educational foundation that is strong and durable,” Seape said.

She encouraged government to isolate those who seek to destroy the future of the youth and to apply the law when dealing with them.

Earlier on Wednesday, Minister Radebe was joined by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Buti Manamela and Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi as they laid wreaths at the Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum in Soweto, to honour those who fought for the liberation of South Africa. –