Provide more job opportunities for young South Africans and let them draw inspiration from our past — Deputy President
Deputy President Paul Mashatile said the private sector should set youth employment targets and young people should ‘draw inspiration from the youth of the past, who also demonstrated the magnitude and power of young people when they are united to combat social injustices’. He made these points during the government’s official Youth Day celebrations in Mangaung.
“We believe in the youth of our country… we will fight hard for the development and growth of our youth,” said Paul Mashatile, delivering a keynote address during the government’s Youth Day celebrations on Friday 16 June.
He spoke about the need for the private sector to work with the government to provide opportunities for young people. “If there is one thing that industry and the private sector must do, it is to hold action labs solely focused on improving the implementation of programs aimed at assisting young people,” said Mashatile, who delivered his speech virtually.
“We require the private sector to set targets for the numbers of employment and support for the youth, which we will measure and monitor in the action lab. This work will be led together with the National Youth Development Agency and the existing social and private sector partners,” he said.
Mashatile said the government would need regular reports on the agreed action labs so “that by the time we are in 2024, we can report practical results in this regard”.
Currently, youth unemployment in South Africa stands at 46.5%.
Speaking about the 16 June, 1976 uprisings in Soweto against the forced teaching of black South Africans in Afrikaans, Mashatile said: “This is a significant event in our nation’s calendar because it allows us to pay tribute to the young men and women whose lives were cut short at the hands of the inhumane apartheid regime.”
He told the crowd that the youth of 1976 “laid down their lives for a purpose… they were driven by a resolve to bring down apartheid in favour of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa”.
Mashatile added: “We stand on the shoulders of giants. Hence without fear or favour, we remain grateful to the youth of 1976 for their contribution to the social and political transformation of our nation.”
This year’s official Youth Day commemoration was at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung. Mashatile delivered his speech virtually as weather conditions made air transportation for the Deputy President to the venue impossible. Mashatile was in Cape Town this week, answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
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Cape Town and parts of the Western Cape experienced road closures, rail line closures and damage to infrastructure due to a series of heavy rainfalls on Wednesday.
During his speech, Mashatile said: “June is also International Pride Month, we want to reiterate that the Constitution of the Republic outlaws all unfair discrimination based on sex, gender or sexual orientation, whether committed by the government or by a private party.” He added that the government firmly believed the rights of people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex (LGBTQI+) community “are human rights”.
Said Mashatile: “We will continue to defend and advance the rights of the LGBTQI+ community, including ensuring that they are part of the mainstream economy.”
“Our country needs young people like yourselves… young people who will heed the call for betterment and development,” he concluded.
“Young people who will innovate and collaborate for a better South Africa, young people who will address, without fear or favour, the challenges of gender-based violence,” he said. “Young people who are patriotic and are unashamed of being of service to South Africa and her people.”
Mashatile’s speech ended and the Netball World Cup trophy was carried through the crowd. The World Cup takes place in Cape Town from the 28 July to 6 August 2023. DM