National Government undermines province

Albert Fritz

Western Cape Minister of Social Development

It is becoming very apparent that a pattern of interference is emerging on the part of the National Government, in matters over which the Provincial Government should have control.

Last year a National Youth Camp was hosted by the National Department of Social Development, where provinces elected and sent their representatives.

In the case of the Western Cape, these representatives were chosen by the National Government, following youth dialogues they hosted in this province, without involving the Provincial Government.

This year again, provinces were asked to send 100 young people to attend the National Youth Camp taking place from Saturday 22 June 2013. My department has been in engagements with national officials for several weeks, trying to get specific details around the event, requirements, programme, etc. This information has simply not been forthcoming, so we proceeded to identify 100 deserving young people.

At our Youth Day celebration on June 16, we announced the names of the youth who had been selected to attend the National Youth Camp.

Now, a few days prior to the start of the event, we are informed via a junior official in the national department, that they have already selected representatives from this province, based on their attendance at last year’s camp in Mangaung, the same place where the ANC held their National Conference. Coincidence?

One has to wonder if the National government’s actions are politically motivated and whether this is a politically partisan youth mobilization drive in the run-up to next year’s election, disguised as a development camp for deserving young people from across the country.

On Sunday we promised 100 young people a youth camp, and we will make good on our word. We will not allow the National Government to take this opportunity away from young people who have earned it. I have already instructed my officials to plan an alternative camp for the Western Cape.

It really is disappointing though, that the National Government, particularly in youth month, would play political games at the expense of the youth of the Western Cape.

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