Mon, 21 Oct 2019

The ANC has in its Youth Day statement emphasised the empowerment of young people whom the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, thinks the governing party is doing very little for.

Maimane and the ANC released their statements on Sunday as the country commemorates the June 16, 1976 youth uprising: A day on which students were killed by apartheid police for taking a stand against Afrikaans as a medium of instructions in schools.

Today, 43 years later; whether young people were benefitting and being empowered by governments in various fronts remains a subject of debate.

Maimane said in the democratic government, "young people are still forced to fight a system that excludes them and locks them out of opportunities" adding that "while back then it was language used to discriminate and exclude, today it's the rank failure of government to provide quality education, training, and job opportunities for our young people".

"Our young people are still not truly free, and their prospects for a bright and successful future dwindle with each passing day.

Four out of five children in grade 4 cannot comprehend what they read thanks to our education system, which is consistently ranked among the worst in the world," Maimane said in his statement.

The ANC on the other side believes it has made some inroads in terms of empowering the youth of South Africa and committed to doing even more.

The party urged South Africans to "also use the historic occasion of the 43rd anniversary of June 16 to celebrate the many milestones on youth development that we have reached as a country since our liberation in 1994".

"The ANC government has put in place numerous policy interventions to bring young people into the mainstream of our economy as well as ensuring that issues affecting young people remain high on the list of our nation's priorities.

While our achievements in empowering young people are worth celebrating, they must not lull us into complacency," the party said in its statement.

"We still have a long way to go. Far too many young people still find themselves marginalized from the economic mainstream because of unemployment and lack of skills.

"The best tribute we can pay to the different generations of courageous young activists and to honour their memory is to ensure that we achieve economic freedom in our lifetime.

It is therefore fitting that as we celebrate twenty-five years of freedom, we should honour different generations of young people for their selfless contribution to the struggle for liberation."

The ANC further challenged the youth to stand up and meet the government halfway in making things happen for them and be active in social activities.

"The youth have a responsibility to shape the future of our country and to fight against all forms of injustice without fear or favour. The ANC believes that empowering young people is not an option, but a national imperative," the party said.

"The ANC also challenges young people to seize the opportunities created by our democracy in order to create a better life for themselves and their fellow compatriots."

Meanwhile, Maimane has called for all hands on the deck in seeking ways to improve on youth matters and challenges.

"We cannot simply point fingers at government. Instead, we must seek solutions to this national crisis. We must collaborate in Parliament, in government, in business, in labour, and in civil society, to fix this exclusionary system and empower our young people," he said.

He said "43 years on from the Soweto uprisings, millions of young South Africans remain excluded, marginalised and without hope" adding that "our fight is to ensure that young people have a prosperous future in South Africa, and I will not stop until this fight is won".

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