Youth urged to become change agents

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has called on the youth to become change agents and to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities.

Didiza made the call during a National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) intake ceremony held in Thaba Nchu, Free State.

The NARYSEC programme, which is implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, is intended to contribute towards the state’s broader skills development initiatives for the country’s youth.

Addressing more than 1000 participants in the NARYSEC programme, Didiza warned that South Africa will never change if young people just wait for government to provide.

“Let us go to the farm and start farming. Once you are done with the programme, we want to see you being able to farm. The programme is meant to kick-start your life so that you can change your lives.

“Yours is to give back to the community, more especially your family. You are carrying a lot of responsibilities and if you fail. You will have failed the country. As pioneers, you have a lot of responsibilities to contribute toward the economy of the country,” Didiza said. 

Building vibrant, sustainable rural communities

After training, Didiza said participants must become change agents who contribute towards the vision of “building vibrant; equitable and sustainable rural communities”.

She added that she was hopeful that most of the NARYSEC will use their skills to participate in the economic opportunities created by the District Development Model.

Didiza was accompanied by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Free State MEC for Finance, Gadija Brown.

Dlamini-Zuma encouraged the youth and women to be in business, especially farming business.

“There is a need to for districts to have economic development. If there is no economic development, we will never deal with poverty in our communities,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

She also urged the participants to be disciplined and listen to their instructors.

“If you cannot be trusted with the small things then you will not be trusted with big things. You must grab the opportunity with both hands,” the Minister said.

District Development Model

Dlamini-Zuma further noted that government is trying out a new District Development Model to address corruption, poverty, economic growth, unemployment, spatial planning and skills development. The model would be piloted at district, local and metropolitan levels.

“One of the government's main objectives is to identify local development opportunities and ensure economic activity in every district. Unemployment will not abate if we do not ensure that there are opportunities for employment outside the government in all the districts … this will also assist us in addressing poverty," she said.

After recruitment, participants are dispatched to the NARYSEC College in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, where they are taken through an induction, orientation and life skills training phase. 

The initial training phase is followed by a youth leadership development programme, which is administered by the South African National Defence Force at the 3SAI military base in Kimberley and at the SA Naval base in Saldanha, Western Cape.

The youth is then enrolled into TVET and other training colleges to obtain qualifications in their chosen career fields, which is paid for by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

Upon completion, participants then venture into the various career paths. Others are absorbed into government departments, municipalities and the private sector, while some pursue their own businesses. –