Remarks by the Honourable Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane of Mpumalanga Province on the occasion of the breakfast session with beneficiaries of the PYDF in Secunda

27 June 2023

Programme Director, Hon. Sasekani Manzini;
Honourable Members of the Executive Council in our midst;
The Executive Mayor of Gert Sibande District Municipality, Cllr Walter Mngomezulu;
Our host, the Executive Mayor of Govan Mbeki Local Municipality, Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma;
Senior Management of the Provincial Government, led by the Director General, Mr Makhukhu Mampuru;
Our special guests, representing various youth structures and the financial sector;
Good Morning;

Programme Director
  1. Programme director, it is a singular honour and privilege to join you all at this inaugural Premier’s breakfast roundtable with beneficiaries of the Mpumalanga Premier's Youth Development Fund (PYDF).

  2. Our gathering is informed by the seminal words of the father of our democratic dispensation, uTata Nelson Mandela, who said at the 1995 commemoration of youth day that

    “At the end of the day, your progress will depend on how you apply yourselves to your work. The road to a better life demands hard work. It demands discipline, patience and responsibility … This generation of youth stand at the border-line between the past of oppression and repression, and the future of prosperity, peace and harmony”.

  3. As many of you are aware, we conceptualised the Premier’s youth development fund as one of the most important pillars of our strategy to recalibrate the Provincial economy and to facilitate the meaningful participation of young people in the mainstream economy of our beautiful Province.

  4. We took this decision fully aware that youth owned enterprises are most likely to create sustainable employment opportunities and drive societal change.

  5. A prime example of this is the 1246 Gym that I had the pleasure of visiting on the 17th of May 2023 in Mkhuhlu, Bushbuckridge. The gym is an initiative by two siblings, Bonakele and Velaphi Mkasi, and does not only provide the local community with a state of art equipment, such as the cardio- vascular training, but also contributes significantly towards the adoption of a healthy life-style of the young and the old, men and women, within its vicinity.

  6. It is no secret that communities in rural areas are more vulnerable, to life-style related diseases, such as heart attack and high blood pressure, compared to those in urban areas, due to lack of access to such facilities.

  7. The Gym center, has created six job opportunities, with an envisaged prospect of more jobs in the future. This provides evidence of what we can achieve if young people are given a seat on the table of economic opportunities.

  8. Programme Director, as we mark the Youth month commemoration, we must remind ourselves that the struggle continues: ‘Aluta Continua’.

  9. The youth of 47 years ago, were pre-occupied with a struggle against oppression, and saw the Afrikaans language, as a symbol of that oppression. Today, we look back with victorious eyes, over what they have achieved. They defeated oppression.

  10. The struggle has now shifted elsewhere, towards socio-economic conditions of our youth. Unemployment is now our struggle. At 34 percent, the youth unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and unacceptable.

  11. Over the past three years, since we introduced the Premier’s Youth Development Fund, we can say without any fear of contradiction or shadow of a doubt, that our efforts, of supporting youth empowerment in Mpumalanga, are bearing the desired outcomes:
    • 97 youth entities have been financially supported, in a broad range of business initiatives;
    • Several job opportunities have been created, thereby causing an interruption to the high youth unemployment curve;

  12. Programme Director, our intervention has not been smooth sailing. It has been laced with cynical and skeptical choruses, labeling this as a waste of tax payers’ funds by the 6th Administration.

  13. We are not deterred. We are resolute in our youth empowerment support, to rid Mpumalanga of the scourge of unemployment.

  14. We congratulate the 97 youth beneficiaries that are with us today. And by the same token, we call upon other young aspirant business aspirants, to take this initiative of accessing the financial support.

  15. In this era of climate change and just energy transition, we count on the youth, with innovative business ideas to venture into this space. The Untum Pty Ltd waste management entity of Nkomazi, owned by Enny Ndlovu, is a case in point. We need more similar youth entities.

  16. Tomorrow, I will be in Volkrust, in the Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Municipality, to visit yet another success story of the Youth Fund supported entity, specializing in thew manufacturing of vehicle tyres.

  17. Let me reiterate what I indicated in the tabling of the budget vote for this financial year, earlier this month. Programme Director, I said that we have set aside a total budget of R114 million for the Youth Fund.

  18. We have also taken a decision around 30% of the Provincial government expenditure for the benefit of enterprises owned by young people with disabilities. Our assertion is that we leave no one behind.

  19. Programme director, the Provincial government is ready to continue providing a helping hand to the youth of our Province and we will continue to appeal to the private sector to play a bigger role to support youth owned enterprises across the Province.

  20. This ANC led government is guided by the wisdom of OR Tambo who cautioned us that, “A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children doesn't deserve its future."

  21. We will incorporate local economic development directorates of all local and district municipalities as we broaden the scope of the Premier’s youth development fund in order to accommodate post funding operational support for the youth owned enterprises and improve the overall viability of these enterprises as going concerns.

  22. I want participants of this roundtable to deliberate extensively on the operational challenges they have encountered so that we may work with them to overcome bureaucratic challenges they encounter.

  23. As I conclude Programme Director, I wish to amplify the words of Chairman Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic of China who addressed Chinese students in Moscow in 1957 and said, “The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight in the morning. Our hope is placed on you. The world belongs to you.”

  24. To the recipients of the Premier’s youth development funding, you have a moral responsibility to play your part in the development of your communities and this Province.

  25. Your government and our strategic stakeholders will ensure that we create an environment that is conducive for the development of your enterprises.

  26. Working together, we will create a prosperous Mpumalanga Province.

  27. I thank you.
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