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Speech by Hon LS Makhubela-Mashele during the Youth Debate

15 June 2017

Theme "The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment.

Focus: Youth and Skills Development.

Good afternoon Hon Members

The main economic objectives of government since the dawn of democracy, has been skills development for job creation, the reduction of Poverty and inequality and the overall sustainable growth of the wealth of the country.

Young people are a major human resource for development and act as key agents for social change, economic expansion and innovation.

A significant number of our youth across the country are not prepared for work, thus are unproductive potential workers.

It is of principal importance that steps be taken to prevent this waste of our nation's human resources by providing skills development and training.

The theme for youth month seeks to mainstream the youth development agenda and participation of young people in the broader economy.

Youth Economic Empowerment is the means through which the youth of the country can be assisted to succeed in life.

Youth-targeted interventions are needed to enable Young South Africans to actively participate and engage in the economy.

Many in the opposition benches think that Youth Economic Empowerment is the function of Government only.

Youth Empowerment must be a shared responsibility that calls for partnerships between Government, the Private Sector and broader Civil Society.

Giving young people access to skills development programmes and jobs, remains the priority of government.

Our government recognizes that the youth of today have completely different struggles, which is high unemployment rates, alcohol and substance abuse.

We understand that political freedom on its own is not enough, the youth who form the majority of the population are hungry for economic empowerment.

The Class of 1976 stood for what they believed in, which was better education. They stood up against armed police and brought us the freedom we today enjoy.

Today's struggles are about the economy and opportunities.

We must emulate the Youth of 1976 by standing up against all forms of corruption, which erode equal opportunities for the Youth.

We must unite and rise against unemployment and inequality.

The urgency of the participation of the youth at the top end of our economy has been emphasized by the recent unemployment statistics.

These unemployment figures paint a disturbing picture which, shows that the country is regressing rather than improving.

We welcome the Youth set-aside budget of R23 Billion for the next five years, tabled by the Minister of Economic Development in his recent Budget approved by this house.

Increasing investment in young people is key to their development and empowerment. It is a step in the right direction in the alleviation of poverty.

Hon Members

Our ANC Government continues to invest in the youth of the country. There are many initiatives and structured programmes tailor made to benefit the Youth

To date over 1,7 million South Africans have joined the ranks of the Middle class. These are young professionals, and a well skilled work force, that is mush needed by the economy to grow.

Majority of this population of the middle class strata are the Black middle class who benefited from the National Skills Fund.

The National Skills Fund Aid Scheme is Governments vehicle to educate and skill the Youth and prepare them to enter the formal Labour force and be productive citizens.

One of the primary aims of skills development is to improve access to the labour market in the informal economy and increase income and strengthen social networks for poverty reduction.

Learning vocational skills helps to ensure food security and rural development, both of which are important when fighting poverty.

To date

R175.114 million from the National Skills Fund was allocated towards Transnet to train 1 000 artisans over 3 years; and Training is delivered at 18 training centers in 14 trades
R173.75 million from the National Skills Fund was allocated towards Eskom to train 1250 artisans over 3 years.
R23.797 million from the National Skills Fund was allocated towards South African Airways to train 136 artisans for 3 years.

Hon Members

Nothing Is More Powerful Than an Idea Whose Time Has Come. Victor Hugo a French Literature scholar, stated it best: when He said.

"There Nothing more powerful than an idea whose Time has come."

The 4th Industrial Revolution is that Idea, which builds on the Digital Revolution, presenting new ways in which Technology becomes embedded and breakthroughs in a number of Fields.

Our Youth has to position themselves to engage proactively with these rapidly evolving technologies.

We have within our means the capacity to harness the potential of these technological capacities to improve the lives of South Africans.

Our Government has to ensure that Our People in particular the Youth are not left behind. And that technology benefits society as a whole.

Training, Skilling and Life Long Learning is the only journey to develop the correct and relevent skills for this 4th Industrial Revolution.

Demand continues to grow for skills that enable us to keep up with structural changes in the economy brought about by urbanization, technological change, and shifting patterns of consumer demand.

Hon members, Our task as Members of Parliament is to measure the impact youth empowerment programmes through our oversight work.

Consolidating and integrating Youth development into the mainstream of government policies, programmes and the national budget should be what we look for in departments Strategic Plans and APP's as Young MP's.

Various departments come before Our Portfolio Committees, year in and year out to table their Strat Plans and APP's. We approve departments budgets and spending.

Our eyes must be focused on every government department and ensure that its policies and budget talk to youth development.

If the youth want to take ownership and leadership of tomorrow, Strengthening their capacity and widening your vision is the only choice. There are no short cuts to development and empowerment.

Thank You!

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