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KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE JEFF RADEBE, MP, MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY FOR PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION; AT THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH THE NDP YOUTH AMBASSADORS; ROOM 5, RIVONIA MALL, RIVONIA

28 SEPTEMBER 2017

 

Programme Director:

The Director General of the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), Ms Mpumi Mpofu

The CEO of the NYDA, Mr Sifiso Mtsweni

Business leaders and NDP partners Delegates from the various stakeholders represented here

Our Special Guests — The NDP Youth Ambassadors

Ladies and gentlemen

 We are gathered here this evening to conclude what has been an extremely busy month in South Africa. The month of September has been celebrated since the dawn of democracy as National Heritage month. This year’s heritage month marks the 5th anniversary of the National Development Plan (NDP), which was unanimously adopted by parliament on 12 September 2012.

The NDP anniversary coincides with the passing of a great visionary and proponent of Black Consciousness, Steve Biko. Biko was brutally killed by the apartheid police on 12 September 1977 at the tender age of 30. As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of his passing, his incisive words reverberate beyond the grave. His message in a letter to his wife and three children, remain instructive to all of us:

“I’ve devoted my life to see equality for blacks, and at the same time, I’ve denied the needs of my family. Please understand that I take these actions, not out of selfishness or arrogance, but to preserve a South Africa worth living in for blacks and whites.”

This injunction from Biko compels us to strive for an equal and more prosperous society as espoused in the NDP. In this year of Oliver Tambo, a patriot who selflessly dedicated his life to the struggle for the liberation in South Africa, we must engage in very bold steps to make positive change in the lives of the people of our country.

We must cherish the ideals espoused by all those who sacrificed their lives for us to be free. The best way to honour them is by empowering the youth. Young people must be at the forefront of fundamental change. We must derive inspiration from the profound words of our liberation struggle stalwart O.R. Tambo, when he says:

“The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future.”

It is in respect of this vision that the overarching plan of South Africa – the National Development Plan – is futuristic in its orientation. The NDP outlines the envisaged development trajectory in our journey towards the year 2030. The young people of today are the ones who will witness the fruition of our Vision 2030. It is against this backdrop that youth development is a matter of national importance. For we know that when we invest in the youth, we invest in the future of our country.

We often say that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow. The converse is also true that our journey towards a better tomorrow begins today. It is in this regard that the NDP singles out the youth as the major catalysts in boosting economic growth. Youth empowerment is therefore central in the NDP strategies. Our event this evening is premised on the view that the youth are the main drivers of the NDP and ought to be the main beneficiaries of economic transformation.

It is in view of this realisation that the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), initiated a number of NDP programmes that are youth oriented. To mark the milestone of five years, the Department organised a series of activities to advance the principles and the ideals of the NDP.

On Wednesday, 12 September, President Jacob Zuma addressed us on the achievements of the NDP over the past five years. I followed with a public lecture at UNISA, Pretoria, where I reflected on lessons learnt and explored strategies for enhancing effective implementation of this noble plan.

We have established a formidable partnership with the Department of Basic Education, wherein we launched the annual NDP Learner competitions. The primary objective of the competitions is to create awareness and educate the youth from an early age about the NDP as the overarching plan of the country.

On Wednesday, 26 September, we hosted the NDP Schools’ debate competition. It was truly inspiring to listen to young people analyzing the NDP and the state of our nation. I am deeply grateful to the Department of Basic Education and schools that participated in this programme.

I must take this opportunity to congratulate all the participants and especially the overall winner, Sanele Sthembiso Khoza from Malabela High School in KwaZulu-Natal, and the runner-up Lindi Innocent Nkosi, from Mashishing High School in Mpumalanga province. These young people are some of our brightest stars that will illuminate our growth path in our collective journey towards the year 2030.

It is quite significant that as we conclude our anniversary month, we are gathered here to officially launch the NDP Youth Brand Ambassadors programme. The last time I saw many of you was on the first day of the month at the Union Buildings, where I hosted a breakfast meeting. It is wonderful to meet you again as we conclude the month, now as the official NDP Brand Ambassadors!

You would recall that we have come a long way to be where we are today. Some of you were selected from the winners and the nominees of the South African Youth Awards (SAYA), held at the St. George Hotel in March this year. It is our view that the full value of an award cannot be realised unless the winner contributes towards the development of their communities. We want to see young people directly involved in imparting skills and nurturing other young talents.

Others have stood out as potential ambassadors as a result of the public nomination process. We embarked on a public nomination process where we put out a call for young people to submit their names and motivate why they think they deserve to be the NDP Brand Ambassadors. We have had overwhelming response from young people across the country. You emerged head and shoulders above the rest.

Congratulations to all of you for making the final cut. The selection criteria for candidates is a stringent one, and involved a rigorous process to ensure that we select the best candidates for specific fields. I am confident as ambassadors you will serve the country with honour and diligence and enthusiastically champion the values and principles of the NDP.

As ambassadors you will be expected to serve as role models to young people in the country and should be respectable as members of society. You must see yourselves as agents of change and be willing to dedicate their time in the service of the South African people.

The NDP Brand Ambassador Programme is premised on promoting youth entrepreneurship to boost economic growth, increase employment, and reduce poverty and inequality. As government, our mission is to transform the economic landscape and make it more inclusive and address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Our economic indicators show that the youth remains the hardest hit by the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. These are some of the challenges that we must collectively address with the urgency that they deserve to pave a better future for our country

It is important to note that the scourge of unemployment is not a government problem alone. It is a societal problem. Youth development is a matter of national importance. To ignore the plight of the youth will be a major risk in the socio-economic condition of our country. Let us join hands and wage a fierce fight against youth unemployment.

Government, business and civil society organisations must work together to combat youth unemployment. They should provide skills development opportunities through training, internships and mentorship for young graduates and budding entrepreneurs. This is how we can establish a solid foundation for rapid and inclusive economic growth in our country. This is a clarion call to prospective partners, especially businesses, to join hands with us in empowering the youth.

Progressive nations all across the globe enhance their chances of prosperity through investment in new ideas, new innovations and new opportunities. Young people must be given opportunities to explore their talents and unleash their creative potential. We need innovative young entrepreneurs who will play a meaningful role in the renewal of our economy. Entrepreneurship is a fundamental endeavour for economic emancipation especially in our rapidly changing industrial landscape.

I must extend a word of gratitude to the businesses that have come on board in support of youth empowerment initiatives. We embark on these initiatives conscious of the fact that we would not achieve everything without the assistance of the business sector. I can assure all businesses that are interested in contributing to this programme that it is a worthy investment. I also invite other interested parties to join hands with us in empowering the youth.

A country enhances its prosperity through investment in new ideas, new opportunities and new jobs. It is our local innovators and entrepreneurs who will ultimately create the millions of jobs that we need to grow an inclusive economy.

We must create an enabling environment for young people to explore their talents and unleash their creative potential. Youth should never be deprived of opportunities to explore their potential on account of lack of resources. We must do all we can to support youth development. When we empower the youth, we empower the nation.

As young people, you must be at the forefront of fundamental change. Try to make a difference in your chosen vocation. Youth must embrace the opportunities that our country and democracy affords you. You should draw inspiration from the incisive words of Frantz Fanon:

“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity.”

We have now been declared as the NDP Brand Ambassadors. You must always bear in mind that you are no longer representing yourself as an individual. As an ambassador you are the face of our country. You represent the nation. You represent your generation. You must leave a legacy that you will be proud of. This is your opportunity to make South Africa a better place.

Thank you.

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