By Langa Bodlani, DA MPL:
The following speech was delivered by Langa Bodlani DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 09 June 2015 during the Debate on Youth Month.
The 2015 youth month is highly significant for two reasons.
First, it comes as the DA launched its Values Charter in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Second, it happens as the DA is increasingly becoming the party of choice for many of our people and in particular thousands of youth who are not just disillusioned and disappointed by the ruling party but genuinely seek a viable alternative which upholds The Constitution and has their best interest at heart.
The youth of June 1976 may have lost their lives during the uprising but what they gained was far more precious and sacrosanct.
They gained the right to be self-defining.
This is the youth which refused to be appendages to a brutal system of apartheid.
This youth of ‘76 forced the people of this country and the entire international community to have a complete paradigm shift and to finally start acting against a brutal system.
More importantly, they taught us that the onus is on us to challenge the status quo, to probe uncertainty and to fight injustice in government and everywhere else.
Similarly, it is upon the youth of today to rise up against the gross inadequacies in the Limpopo dept. of Education where it loses more than a hundred thousand learners between Grades 10 and 12.
It is upon the youth of 2015, to rise up against 43.46 % of unemployment on extended definition.
Ladies and gentlemen
It is upon the youth to rise up when their officials unfairly take away millions from them and rather use it to do business with their close family and friends.
This youth clearly detest this close crony patronage system.
This youth has to rise up when ……. Of their brothers and sisters undergo internships and spend years studying at University promised Social Worker jobs by the Social Development department yet
somehow cannot be absorbed in the end
It is through the Values Charter that millions of the youth in this province will not just stand up against the failures and the rampant corruption by their government, they will actually STAND UP and
RISE UP FOR Freedom, Fairness and Opportunities.
The DA will be there at all times not only rising FOR the youth but significantly rising with the youth at every step of the way.
It is indeed upon the youths not their government to shape and determine their destiny.
As a party we spearheaded the Youth Wage Subsidy which finally found expression in the NPD.
This subsidy will ensure that our youths are not excluded by those who are already inside the job market.
The DA understands the multi-dimensionality of poverty and how it impacts our people in various ways.
The hypocrisy of the ruling party is unbecoming.
It continues to disenfranchise this youth through unsustainable grants, giving them piece-jobs and calling them ‘job-opportunities’ and hiring friends and family members rigging the tender process
and withholding dignified housing for them.
16 June 1976 was not a mere demonstration in protest against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
It was a symbolic act of courage by our youth to challenge and question the powers that be.
Today, I have the courage to ask the ruling party when it claims to be moving South Africa forward, where exactly is it taking us?
After the uprising where martyrs like Hector Peterson shed their blood, many countries around the world imposed harsh sanctions on South Africa.
Today’s youth must amass the same courage as that of 76.
This is because they too must be self defining.
While I am tempted to be despondent, my enthusiasm for this country and this province is far greater.
Former President Thabo Mbeki quoted a poem on the occasion of the memorial lecture of Steve Biko by Masizi Kunene entitled Emperor Shaka the Great
In poem the poet lambasted and I quote
“Those who feast on the grounds of others
Often are forced into gestures of friendship they do not desire
But we are the generation that cannot be bypassed
We shall not be blinded by gifts from feasts
With our own fire we shall stand above the mountains, as the sun”
Like the youth of 1976 we must not produce the youth who feast on the ground of others
We must not be forced into friendship with crime and drug abuse because we do not desire these friendships.
We are a generation that will not be bypassed because we are not blinded by gifts from feats such as grants, EPWP’s and government patronage system.
We are those who with our own fire shall stand above the mountains, as the sun.