Dr Nomafrench Mbombo
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sports
Note: This speech was delivered by the Cultural Affairs and Sports Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo yesterday in the National Council of Provinces. The Minister delivered her maiden speech under the theme: “20 years of democracy: Together advancing Youth Development and Empowerment”.
Good afternoon Chairperson and Honourable Members of the House, it gives me great pleasure to be here today speaking of the strides we have made as a country after 20 years of democracy, more so in terms of developing and empowering young people.
The achievements that South Africa has made since the dawn of democracy cannot be disputed
Honourable Members, South Africa is undoubtedly a better place today than it was before 1994.
Our Constitution is the best in the world and this is by no accident.
Thousands of South Africans fought vehemently against an unjust system of Apartheid for us to be where we are today.
Many laid down their lives and paid the highest price for South Africa to be truly free.
The Democratic Alliance understands this sacrifice and values what it represents.
We work tirelessly to ensure that the vision of our forefathers is carried out and that the people of South Africa are the true beneficiaries of this freedom.
The people of this country are yearning for rapid change.
Young people, specifically, are demanding more from us.
South Africans want a government that will grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty for a better future.
They want a transparent and accountable government that prioritises service delivery and takes their plight seriously.
The Democratic Alliance continues to work hard in delivering on the mandate we have been given by the people of the Western Cape
You see, Chairperson, many young South Africans do not share the good story the ANC is bragging about, whilst some of us do agree on gains we made as a country since our democracy.
We can never compare the South Africa of today with the South Africa of yesterday, before1994.
There is no comparison.
We have been part of one government post 1994, and therefore let’s measure ourselves against our potentials and strides.
We need to be realistic that the majority of youth were not even there during apartheid.
We set the bar far too low, if we measure our performance and our record of delivery against a system that excluded the majority of our population.
After 20 years of democracy, the unfortunate reality is that much needs to be done to improve the lives of young South Africans.
Let me paint a picture of the life of a young person in South Africa today and you be the judge of whether this is a good story to tell:
A young girl that is born in a poverty stricken township like eMdantsane, in the Eastern Cape, where I was born, is faced with a number of challenges.
She attends school, more often than not, with few teachers, no textbooks and no proper infrastructure.
It is likely that, just like the millions of other young girls who have been victims of gruesome crimes, she might be sexually assaulted on her very doorstep by a parent, a relative, a teacher, a neighbour, a stranger.
Her chances of contracting HIV, being physically abused by her partner, and becoming a teenage pregnancy statistic are extremely high.
She might struggle through school like many others across the country who have been left with no textbooks.
If she is lucky to make it through matric, she will only form part of the few that get that opportunity.
She will, no doubt, struggle to find funding for her higher education studies.
She will most certainly struggle to find a job like the 3 million other young people seeking employment opportunities today.
This is not the life that South African young people must be subjected to.
This is certainly not the life that was envisioned by the class of 1976.
Chairperson and Honourable Members, you will agree, this is not a Good Story;
It is the story of an abandoned youth and an abandoned promise of 1994.
In the Western Cape, the DA has strived to change the trajectory of young people.
We aim to improve the lives of young people by creating multi-opportunity platforms in partnerships with private sectors, civil societies, communities and all spheres of government.
We adopt a whole society approach involving all stakeholders in developing this young person with the aim of producing a responsible, skilled and well-resourced adult.
In Western Cape, the young girl I spoke about earlier will attend a school where she will have a textbook for every subject.
This will be a school that excels in Languages and Mathematics, with access to a library, no matter how remote the area.
Where there are no formal structures, mobile libraries are provided.
We have initiated book clubs as early as from a primary school level in all corners of the province.
Honourable Members, the Western Cape government understands the importance of a reading nation, no matter where you are or where you come from.
This girl will have dedicated and well-trained teachers in that school;
She will enjoy the benefit of attending a well-equipped school with better infrastructure and not mud schools or classes under the trees;
She will be able to access the internet at her school and a fully functioning science lab;
Ultimately she will be able to matriculate from a school that continues to improve the number and quality of passes in the National Senior Certificate.
After school, she will be able to attend one of our 181 MOD centres.
These are Mass Participation Opportunity and Development centres which the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports implemented four years ago in partnership with schools and communities.
Here, she will be able to enjoy a safe place to play sport, participate in cultural activities and study after school hours: We envisaged a socially inclusive, creative and active environment for this young person.
Honourable Members, the Western Cape government appreciates the role sport plays in unifying the nation.
Sports is a vehicle to promote reconciliation and community development.
As a form of recreation, sport is a life skill for individual personal development.
Through our sports development programme, we have initiated and financially supported more than 200 sports clubs in all 6 districts in the province.
These clubs include sports for youth with disabilities where young people compete among themselves locally and internationally.
We make use of accredited sports coaches to develop and identify young talent in different sport codes from a very young age.
The coaches also provide the presence of an adult that the young person can bond with and trust. A person that can act as mentor and role model where there’s no other support system.
The majority of our youth come from broken homes with no functioning family support.
Culture and art, a fundamental human right for freedom of expression, creates a platform for young people to learn from each other in a diversified environment.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports have taken art galleries to the streets and to communities where young people can showcase their work for human capital development.
Within the MOD centres, this young girl will also be able to benefit from the meals supplied to all learners.
She can also participate in the MOD programme’s exciting new initiative called the “Youth Gap Year” volunteer programme.
This initiative involves top matric and university graduates, locally and internationally, taking part in a gap year to tutor learners in our MOD centres after formal school hours.
Another incredible opportunity for young people are Youth Cafés, for example, one in Mitchell’s Plein where young people participate in a range of entrepreneurial skills development programmes.
This young girl’s future is already more promising compared to her equals in other parts of the country especially considering this massive rollout of broadband access in every corner of the province.
Technology to access information, free online books, job adverts are of significance to a young person.
The Western Cape government has developed various initiatives to combat substance abuse. An example is a structured residential programme for youth at- risk where they receive occupational and life skills training for to further education and work opportunities, like the Chrysalis Academy,
This province has been one of the provinces leading in rapid economic growth and job creation.
This is largely due to clean and efficient governance.
We have fully utilised funds that we receive from national government using innovative ways of getting young people working.
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism has budgeted over R120 million for the next three years on skills development programmes alone.
Young people continue to benefit from the Premier’s Advancement of Youth (PAY) project that provides internships for matriculants, with on-the-job training in government departments for a year.
Through the Artisan Development Programme in partnership with the private sector, SETAs and FET Colleges, we have created a pipeline of young qualified artisans who can contribute to growing the emerging sectors of our economy such as the Oil and Gas industry.
The DA-led government has been in the forefront of implementing the Youth Wage Subsidy.
We have placed about 1000 young people in different companies through our Work and Skills programme.
Our Agriculture Department, together with our private sector partners, has awarded 147 bursaries to deserving students to further their education in the agricultural sector.
This opportunity has allowed these young people to either work for the Department or private companies creating REAL jobs.
Honuorable Members, this young girl will no doubt, be able to tell a much better story.
The story of a caring government;
The story of a working government;
The story of a government that puts its young people first.
Young people in the Western Cape, will tell a story of the only political party in South Africa that has the know-how to deliver on the promise of 1994.
We invest in our youth: our future leaders.
I thank you.