Premier DD Mabuza at the Provincial Celebrations of Youth Day

Driekoppies Stadium, Nkomazi Municipality
16 June 2009


Programme Director, CEO of the Youth Commission in Mpumalanga,
Members of the Provincial Executive Council,
Members of the Provincial Legislature,
Executive Mayors of Ehlanzeni District Municipality and Nkomazi Municipality, Clr. Mkhonto and Clr. Mavuso,
Honourable Mayors and Councillors,
Our esteemed traditional leaders Amakhosi,
Chairperson of Mpumalanga Youth Commission, Ms V Masilela,
The leadership of the Provincial Youth Council,
All government senior managers,
Representatives of various youth organisations and structures
Distinguished Guests,
Comrades and Compatriots.


Today, we commemorate the events of the 1976 student revolt against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools. Clearly, this fight was driven by the quest to advance the ideals of non-racial, quality education for all South Africans. 


We pay tribute to the 1976 youth whose heroism, patriotism and selfless sacrifice contributed to the creation of a free and democratic South Africa that we now live in. 


On this day, we commemorate the enormous loss of innocent human lives that was perpetrated by the brutal apartheid regime. In the face of adversity and brutal murder, the noble pursuit of justice by the 1976 generation triumphed. This is the indelible legacy of sacrifice that continues to inspire every South African to pursue the vision of a just society.

Programme Director, we are celebrating Youth Day under the theme “Celebrating Vibrant Youth Voice” to underscore our commitment to placing youth empowerment issues high on government’s development agenda.


As a nation, we must recognize that the ‘vibrant youth voice’ has always been embedded in the struggle for liberation and social transformation. The ‘voice’ of the 1976 youth signaled a watershed moment in the political struggle to bring about change and social transformation.


In commemorating Youth Day, our youth leaders should continue to draw inspiration from the 1976 youth to ensure that their collective ‘voice’ shapes the future of South Africa.  Today’s youth should continue to have their collective ‘voice’ heard in matters of democratic governance and social change in order to bring about a better life for all.


Programme Director, the April 2009 elections provided an important platform for the youth to participate in strengthening democracy and shaping the future direction of the country. The youth came out in large numbers to vote and elect the leaders of their choice. 


The ‘vibrant youth voice’ in the recent elections is a clarion call for action to address the development needs of our youth who continue to face the challenges of unemployment and poverty. As government, we are conscious of our obligation to respond.


The major thrust of the ‘vibrant youth voice’ has been the call for an institutional response to enhance policy coherence, and to seamlessly integrate youth development interventions. In this regard, a ‘one-stop shop’ National Youth Development Agency has been established to drive the implementation of youth development policies in South Africa.


Among other things the National Youth Development Agency will support the youth with:

  • Training and skills development
  • Financial assistance
  • Economic participation
  • Career development and advice
  • And linking unemployed youth to employment opportunities

Programme Director, high levels of unemployment and poverty among the youth of our Province are a cause for concern. The youth constitutes a large and growing portion of the unemployed in the Province because a large number of young people enter the labour market each year after completing schooling and tertiary education.


As part of government’s priority to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods, we will ensure that we implement programmes that create the environment for young people to acquire skills, and access job opportunities.


We will continue pay particular attention to the capacity and effectiveness of our Further Education and Training Colleges as well as MRTT to ensure that we improve access to skills development opportunities by the youth in the Province.


It is critical that opportunities are created for unemployed youth to access training that helps them to enter specific occupational trades so that they find employment or start their own businesses.


As a Province, we will engage in partnerships with the private sector and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to address the challenge of scarce and critical skills required by the economy. This will include youth learnerships for workplace-based experiential learning and targeted acquisition of scarce and critical skills.


The implementation of phase 2 of the Expanded Public Works Programme will be utilized to ratchet up initiatives that provide training and job opportunities for the youth. As part of EPWP, more youth will be enrolled in the implementation of the National Youth Service.


The National Youth Service provides employment opportunities in the maintenance of public assets to ensure skills transfer in trades such as painting, plastering, tiling, carpentry, bricklaying, plumbing, welding and electrical works.


We will continue to implement practical measures to facilitate access to finance, business development support and mentoring targeted at youth owned businesses.


The implementation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup programme in the Province presents opportunities for youth-owned businesses in construction, tourism development and hospitality. Our government departments and parastatals have a responsibility to support our youth to access business opportunities. As government, we want the youth of the Province to take advantage of opportunities presented by the hosting of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.


Ladies and gentleman, improving the health profile of the youth of the Province is a matter of absolute priority. The future growth and success of the Province is dependent on healthy young people who will grow up and participate productively to grow the economy. 


In spite of progress that is being develop and empower our youth, the burden of HIV and Aids continues to weigh negatively on the health profile and future prospects of our nation.


Young people must take responsibility to fight the ravaging impact of HIV and Aids. Our youth should adopt responsible sexual practices to ensure that the entire nation prevents the spread of this pandemic.


Programme Director, youth participation in sport is an important vehicle promote social cohesion and a shared sense of nationhood and patriotism. Sport brings people together.


As a Province, we want to contribute to the development of world-class athletes. We will continue to promote increased participation by the youth in Siyadlala and School Sport Mass Participation programmes to enable our youth to unearth their talents and reach their full potential in sport.


As part of the government’s massive programme to build social and economic infrastructure, there is a need to ensure that sporting facilities and infrastructure are in place so that our youth in rural areas and townships enjoy the benefits of world-class facilities to develop themselves in sport.


Programme Director, our communities live in fear because of rampant crime that curtails the enjoyment freedom and civic liberties. That is why the current administration has identified crime and corruption as one of the key priorities.


As we celebrate Youth Day, we must mobilize our youth to play a central role in fighting crime in areas where they live. The safety and security of our communities is in our hands. The youth should participate in street committees and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to expose the perpetrators of crime against women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly


The leadership pedigree of the 1976 generation was defined by the power and determination to change society for the better.  I believe that our youth today can defeat crime when working together communities and law enforcement agencies.


As I conclude, I want to pay tribute to those unrecognized young people who tirelessly work hard to develop themselves and their communities. We need youth leaders with commitment to the core values of community service and social empowerment. Your Province needs you.


Enjoy the celebration of Youth Day.


Thank you.


Issued by: Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government 

^ Back to Top