Youth urged to play active role in society

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pretoria - Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi today called on the youth to reclaim their rightful place in the development of their lives and society.

He encouraged today's youth to draw inspiration from the youth of 1976, who were powerful agents of change, and to make the most of the opportunities that government provided.

Speaking at the launch of the National Youth Service (NYS) in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria, Mmemezi said the 1976 youth were disciplined and yearned for education.

"This was the ambitious youth that had a clear vision of what their country must be like," he said.

The NYS is a national project that is aimed at engaging young people in valued and necessary services to the communities in which they live, while increasing their own skills, education and opportunities to generate income.

The programme offers young people the chance of structured learning and personal development, preparing them for opportunities to further their studies, obtain formal employment or venture into self- employment.

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development views the NYS as a stepping stone to the enhancement of the youth's activity in economic and personal development.

Mmemezi expressed concerned about the bad behaviour by some young people, including involvement in crime.

"The liquor and drug abuse by the youth of today is an insult to the memory of the youth of '76," he said.

The Winterveldt youth taking part in the NYS are taught life and practical skills such as building and plumbing, among other things.

One of the participants in the programme, Magdeline Moutlane, 24, who completed her matric four years ago, told BuaNews that before taking part in the programme, she was hopeless about the future.

Since completing matric, she has been looking for a job without success.

"Now I have hope that one day I'm going to own my own company and create jobs for others," she said.

Mmemezi also called on parents, churches, teachers, councillors and traditional leaders to work together in developing young people.

"We are all community leaders and we must be exemplary," he said.

He emphasised the importance of good behaviour to the Winterveldt youth nominated to take part in the NYS.

Project leader Luluma Ndzekeli explained that the programme was divided into two -- four months of classroom learning and six months on-site training.

She said they were looking at extending the programme to other municipalities in the province