South Africa highlights youth development


28 September 2015

Government wants to engage more actively with South African youth, using the pillars of the National Development Plan (NDP) to highlight and solve challenges in unemployment, education and social cohesion.

Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba stated government has partnered with youth organisations and business to make sure youth development is prioritised.

At a media briefing of the Governance and Administration Cluster on Sunday 27 September 2015, the Minister said the partnerships were formed to alleviate the challenge of youth unemployment.

Presidential Youth Working Group

“President Jacob Zuma launched the Presidential Youth Working Group in June 2015, to promote youth participation in governance and policymaking and to mainstream youth development and empowerment in the work of government, to build a better life for young people,” Minister Gigaba said at the briefing.

“In the work of the Presidential Youth Working Group, the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, the following work streams have been established: Economic Participation and Transformation Education; Skills and Second Chances; Health Care and Combating Substance Abuse; Nation-Building and Social Cohesion, and Effective and Responsive Youth Development Institutions.”

The Minister’s statement comes after Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, accompanied by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela, signed the National Youth Policy in Khayelitsha, in the Western Cape in August this year. This policy framework, which was signed after a lengthy consultative process, also identified partnerships with all sectors of society as a way of advancing youth development.

Minister Gigaba said that the strategies of the Presidential Youth Working Group’s work streams would form part of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy and progress will also be included in the MTSF for proper monitoring and evaluation.

“The process to amend the National Youth Development Agency Act, 2008 (Act 54 of 2008), is ongoing, with a draft Bill currently with the State Law Advisors,” the minister said.

Interventions to fast-track NDP implementation

Minister Gigaba said interventions had been implemented to assist in fast- tracking several NDP imperatives, including growing the economy with an appropriate and healthy Growth Domestic Product (GDP) rate, as well as creating jobs and eradicating poverty and inequality.

He said these were implemented using government’s Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-19, which Cabinet adopted last year.

“The current initiatives to stimulate growth include government’s Infrastructure Build Programme, the War Room on electricity, Operation Phakisa on the Ocean Economy and in Mining, and the Nine-Point Plan to boost economic growth and create jobs,” the minister said. He also stated that there were other reports showing success linked to the implementation of the framework.

A recent report on education and skills development showed that tremendous progress was made in the education sectors which continue to be a priority area of focus.

While with rural development and land reform, progress on land acquisition for smallholders has been slow, but government’s implementation of programmes are being reviewed and strengthened to resolve some of these issues.

Health care, crime and social cohesion

Minister Gigaba said in regards to health care, South Africa has received worldwide recognition for its HIV and Aids programme, which has over three million people initiated on treatment, contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

“Good progress is being made under safety and security, regarding the reduction of overall levels of serious crime,” he said, “the department is implementing Operation Fiela (Reclaim), to rid our country of illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings and other illegal activities.”

“This multidisciplinary, interdepartmental operation is contributing to the safety and security of our communities,” the minister concluded.