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Keynote Address by Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency ror Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; on the occasion on the Primedia Step Up 2 Start Up Vi National Young Entrepreneurs Awards Gala Dinner; Tsogo Sun, Arcadia


Programme Director:

Minister of Small Business, Lindiwe Zulu

Business leaders

The Award Nominees

NDP Youth Brand Ambassadors

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


It is such a pleasure for me to address an occasion that recognises and celebrates excellence among the youth. The occasion to recognise the achievements of young people gives us a glimpse into the future of our economic landscape. The young stars that we are celebrating this evening are the future business leaders and contributors to our economic development.

For a long time, the dominant narrative in the public discourse regarded the youth as the “lost generation.” Our event this evening is a clear indication that South African youth are the cartographers of their own dreams. They are the architects of their own destiny. They have taken it upon themselves to redefine their purpose and craft a different trajectory for their generation. They are the manifestation of Frantz Fanon’s incisive words, that:

“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it…”


I must commend Primedia for taking the initiative to recognise and celebrate the youth through this competition. The Step Up 2 A Start Up National Young Entrepreneurs Competition” is a vital incentive in cultivating the entrepreneurial culture among the youth. We commend Primestars Marketing, a component of Primedia, for developing programmes for high school learners from disadvantaged communities and for employing cinema as a vehicle for transmitting knowledge through the “Educational Theatres of Learning.” I am told that to date, Primestars has reached over 150, 000 secondary school learners across the nine provinces through this programme.

The aims and objectives of this competition resonate with our own imperatives. I am pleased to note that this competition presents learners with the opportunity to display their entrepreneurial skills, passion and competence in a supportive environment. Through this competition, we will be able to nurture young people to become entrepreneurs who will contribute to our economic development as a nation.

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 presented with 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.

Our economic indicators show that the youth remains the hardest hit by the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The scourge of unemployment, which is more severe among the youth, 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.

The latest report from Stats SA shows that youth unemployment currently stands at about 38%. 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 substance abuse is rife in areas where there is high youth unemployment. Alcoholism is a common trend among the youth especially in areas where there is high unemployment rate. We need an integrated approach in addressing these social ills as the have devastating effects in our economic growth.


The challenges that confront our nation demand that government, business and the civil society work together to advance the gains of our democracy over the past twenty-three (23) years. Government in consultation with the various stakeholders across the realm of society developed the National Development Plan (NDP) as a blue print for the creation of a more prosperous South Africa by 2030. The core priorities of the NDP are to address the perennial challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The NDP is very emphatic on developing faster and more inclusive growth. It makes it abundantly clear that the achievement of economic transformation and inclusive growth will not result from a single intervention – it needs a wide range of stakeholders to be involved. Business is a vital partner in our efforts to develop a more dynamic, inclusive and flourishing economy.

The business sector has got a critical role to play in our journey towards the realization of the dream of a South Africa that is free of abject poverty, unemployment and ross inequalities. Leaders in business should play their part in helping to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs in South Africa. They should provide skills development opportunities like training, internships and mentorship for young graduates and budding entrepreneurs. The nexus between government, business, labour and civil society would propel us forward in our economic development endeavours.

Our starting point should be to leverage on our common values and interests rather than our differences. We all espouse a better, more prosperous and economically viable South Africa. A stable economy is the bedrock of a prosperous nation and the business sector is one of the key pillars of economic growth. The more successful businesses we have, the better the economic standing of South Africa in the world. 

I am delighted that Primedia took particular interest in youth. Youth development is not only a mandate bestowed upon me by parliament, but it is also an area that I am very passionate about. I strongly believe that youth should be at the forefront of change in society and ought to be at the forefront of the implementation of the NDP as the long-term vision of the country. They are the ones who will witness the impact of the NDP as the long-term plan of the country. We must empower young people to be the champions of growth and development in our society.

It is against this backdrop that the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) established the NDP Youth Brand Ambassador programme. The NDP Youth Brand Ambassador Programme was conceived as an intervention aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship to boost economic growth, increase employment, and reduce poverty and inequality. We envisioned the programme as a significant contributor towards the attainment of the national imperatives of creating an inclusive and more dynamic economic landscape.

We have selected a total of 37 young people to serve as the NDP Youth Brand Ambassadors. These young people are some of the most outstanding innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and career trailblazers in our country. They are remarkable achievers in their respective fields selected from different provinces across South Africa. Some of these ambassadors are seated amongst you this evening. I trust that this platform will present the with the opportunity to network and interact with some business leaders in the room this evening.


I understand that we have delegates from some of the top 50 companies listed in the JSE. This is your opportunity to interact with some of the most dynamic and innovative minds who will soon become captains of the industry. An early investment into these young people could contribute significantly to the future growth of your business. I encourage you to form partnerships now and invest in this worthy cause.


At this stage, Programme Director, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to all the institutions that continue to support youth development. I am particularly grateful to our partners, Primedia, Cisco, Liquid Telecom, Altron, and those who are about to join us, for believing in youth development. We still need the support and commitment of other stakeholders in society, including businesses, civil society and educational institutions. Youth development is everybody’s business.

The value of public-private partnerships is that they are mutually beneficial. Their strength is that they help businesses grow their customer base and increase their profit margins while at the same time addressing government imperatives like employment creation. This is the reason why inclusive growth is central in the development agenda of the South African government. I must once again commend Primedia for not only being preoccupied with making profit margins, but also committing to youth development.

It was Henry Ford who said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Primedia is definitely not a poor business in this sense. These awards affirm your stature as a critical player in the development of our society. The recognition of top achievers is a good incentive to encourage excellence among the youth.

In conclusion, let me congratulate all the nominees this evening. The fact that you have made this prestigious list is a clear recognition of the unique contribution you have made into the South African economic landscape. This milestone should inspire you to break more barriers and expand your horizons.

Those who will receive awards this evening should not rest on their laurels. The award is only a recognition of the work you have done thus far. It must inspire you to do more. You must keep striving for the best, because your best is yet to come. Entrepreneurship is a vocation that requires innovative minds. Great innovators never rest. They endeavour to implement the next great idea. They always strive to make a difference. May you continue serving as a source of inspiration to other young people. 

It is through education, skills development and entrepreneurship that we can transform our economy. Young leaders are the major catalysts for our future growth. Let us join hands and help the youth to empower themselves.

It is our future – make it work!


Thank you.


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Issued by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)

5 December 2017
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