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Keynote address by the Honourable Jeff Radebe MP Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation on the occasion of the unveiling of the new NYDA building name

 10 NOVEMBER 2017

Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Sifiso Mtsweni,

Acting CEO of the NYDA, Mr Waseem Carrim

Delegates from the various youth formations present here

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 It is my immense pleasure to preside over this historic occasion. We are gathered here for the official opening of the Head Office of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). This marks the opening of a new chapter in the lives of youth in South Africa.

 

Through this function, we are officially opening a new home for the young people of our country. We are opening the doors for the youth who are determined to contribute to the growth of our economy. We are inviting young people to come and share their innovative ideas with the agency. We want every young person in our country to know that the NYDA is here to support them.

I am told that the relocation of the NYDA Headquarters to this building will result in the savings of approximately R12 million per annum. This is a major victory for youth in our country. The savings will be utilized constructively to contribute towards youth development programmes. We must direct all resources available at our disposal towards the empowerment of youth.

The NYDA is an agency that is charged with responsibility of addressing central challenges that face the youth. It remains a critical stakeholder in the government’s efforts to enhance youth development in South Africa. It must respond to the pressing challenges that face our youth today.

Youth unemployment is a major economic factor that breeds other social ills. There is a symbiotic relationship between increased youth unemployment and crime in our society. The prevalence of drug abuse is palpable in areas where there is high youth unemployment. To ignore the plight of the youth poses a major risk in the moral fibre of our society.

 It is for this reason that government has significantly increased its budget allocation to the NYDA and other youth development projects. Out of the 923 million allocated to us as the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the current financial year, R442 million is dedicated to youth development.

A staggering R430 million (Four Hundred and Thirty Million rand) has been allocated to the NYDA alone. The increase in the resource allocation to the NYDA is an affirmation of the confidence that we have in this institution.

We provide resources to the NYDA so that it can respond efficiently to the challenges that face the youth at local, provincial and national levels. The agency is entrusted with the crucial responsibility of coordinating and mainstreaming youth development across sectors of society. The NYDA and other related organisations specialising in youth development must initiate, design, coordinate, evaluate and monitor all programmes aimed at integrating youth into the mainstream economy.

Amongst other things, the NYDA is expected to facilitate economic participation and empowerment programmes for young people. It is vital that the agency partners with state organs, private sector, non-governmental organisations and community based organisations in initiatives aimed at employment creation, entrepreneurship and skills development.

As the agency representing the youth, the NYDA has got the responsibility to initiate more programmes that are aimed at poverty alleviation, urban and rural development and combatting crime, substance abuse and social decay amongst the youth. The objective here is not to give handouts but to enable youth to engage in constructive activities.

As one of our interventions as the DPME, we recently launched the NDP Youth Brand Ambassador Programme. The programme is aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship to boost economic growth, increase employment, and reduce poverty and inequality. We envision the programme as a significant contributor towards the attainment of the national imperatives of creating an inclusive and more dynamic economic landscape.

These young people are some of the most outstanding innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and career trailblazers in our country. They are achievers in their respective fields selected from different provinces across South Africa. I am proud to say that more stakeholders are joining hands with us to empower the youth.

We must help the youth to help themselves. We must empower the youth to develop our society. An empowered youth would lead to rapid economic growth and transformation. When we empower the youth we empower the nation.

Growing entrepreneurs is an immediate need for South Africa. This means that if we are to confront challenges facing young people we need to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career path. The NYDA must grow youth entrepreneurship and support youth-owned businesses.

 Youth are at the centre of the country’s development and are an integral part of Vision 2030. The National Development Plan (NDP), our country's long-term vision, singles out young people as key to the development of the country. The NDP highlights that South Africa’s youthful population presents an opportunity to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty.

 It is for this reason that youth empowerment is a national priority. We want youth from different backgrounds across the length and breath of South Africa to benefit from the programmes of the NYDA. The NYDA has brought forward initiatives and programmes that are geared towards helping the youth of South Africa to rise above the many challenges that confront them.

While we remain proud of the achievements of the NYDA, we are conscious of the fact that the organisation alone cannot address each and every single challenge that faces the youth. We need the support and commitment of other stakeholders in society, including educational institutions, businesses, labour and civil society organisations. Youth development is everybody’s business.

Our occasion today is indicative of the NYDA commitment to the empowerment of young people in our society. The naming of this building will give it an identity that associates it with the struggles of young people in our country. It is fitting that this new building is named after a youth activist who remains a great inspiration to generations of young people in our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After careful consideration, it was found appropriate to name this building after Tsietsi Mashinini – a student leader who played a pivotal role in the historic Soweto Uprisings of June 1976. Many of Mashinini’s characteristics resonate with the youth of our country. Mashinini is remembered as a fearless fighter and student leader whose name will forever be etched in memory as one of the outstanding leaders of student activism.

Mashini would have been 60 years old this year if he was still alive. He was born in 1957 in Jabavu, Soweto. He was a student activist at the historic Morris Isaacson High School, where he was the head of the debate team ad president of the Methodist Youth Guild. He was elected President of the Soweto Student Representative Council (SSRC) and he played a prominent role in the mass students’ demonstrations in 1976.

His passing on the eve of our freedom in 1990, robbed South Africa of a distinguished leader who would have contributed enormously to our unfolding democracy. The government of South Africa honoured Mashinini’s valiant role in the struggle for our liberation posthumously with the Presidential Order of Luthuli. This Presidential order honours his inspirational leadership and dedication to the struggle of his people.

We trust that naming this building after such a prominent youth activist, we will in turn inspire youth to contribute positively towards the development of our society. We hope that young people will derive inspiration from Mashinini and his generation of student activists of 1976, who were never complacent but took matters to their own hands.  We trust that the NYDA will continue supporting the youth in their development endeavours.

Now that the youth have a home at the Tsietsi Mashinini Building, I expect a more vibrant interaction between the youth and the NYDA. This building must open its doors to the young people in our country. The NYDA must be accessible to young people and strive to reach out to as many young people as possible.

As you walk into this building every day, you must know that the spirit of Mashinini hovers over you. You must cherish his principles and uphold his legacy. May the revolutionary spirit of Mashinini inspire positive change in our society.

 

Thank you. 

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