Letter to the editor: 16 Days of Activism merely lip service

By Ann McDonnell, MPL, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature:

AS our country marks 16 days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children it is shocking to note that the multi-party Women’s Caucus led by the ANC in the KZN Legislature has not met once since the new term began some 18 months ago.

What would have been the first meeting was scheduled to take place last week.  It was cancelled at the eleventh hour for reasons that remain unknown to the DA.

This is hardly the sign of a government that is serious about the issues facing women in our province.

The DA has therefore called for an investigation into this non-performing Caucus and for a feedback to be provided in the provincial legislature.

Public officer bearers have a duty to be serious about the many challenges that face women.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign cannot be mere lip service.

Gauteng govt. fails to empower young people and women

By Ashor Sarupen MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson Social Development:

According to the Department of Social Development’s second quarter report for the 2014/15 financial year, the department failed to deliver on two key deliverables – the most vulnerable youth and women in the province.

This report was presented before the Portfolio Committee on Social Development in the Legislature, yesterday.

Income generating programmes to empower young people and women through work placement and skills improvement programmes have failed significantly.

The women empowerment programme targeted 8109 beneficiaries, however thus far only 31% (2528) of women were assisted with this programme, this despite the budget being spent.

The department fared dismally in its Welfare to Work Programme, which aims at assisting young people. The targeted participants stood at 3600 yet a measly 1405 (39%) of young people participated.

The reasons in both cases for not meeting targets, were due to “conceptualising” issues. Officials in the department have put the cart before the horse in running and budgeting for programmes that it has no idea if it will work.

It baffles me how the department, thus far have spent R1.9 billion, this despite not meeting key targets.

I urge the new MEC for Social Development, Molebatsi Bopape, to urgently intervene and get these derailed programmes on track.

It is unfair that young people and women in the province are cheated out of opportunities to uplift themselves within their respective communities.

The MEC must crack the whip and ensure targets are met before the end of the financial year.

R 27m invested in Premier’s Advancement of Youth project

By Ricardo Mackenzie MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Premier:

Premier Helen Zille is committed to providing opportunity and jobs for the youth. The Premiers Advancement of Youth Project (PAY Project) is directly aimed at addressing the issues outlined in the strategic goals.

The project assists students that have passed matric and would like to gain some work experience in the public service. Up to now the projects has provided 2 251 internships to young people. 750 participants will partake in the program between April 2016 and March 2017.

The DA in the Western Cape welcomes this program as it will go to great lengths in equipping participants with the necessary work experience which will ensure that they are employable.  It will also give support to the youth and assist them make informed career choices going forward.

We commend Premier Zille and her department for the clean audit that it received. The PAY project is only one example the benefits of the efficient use of public money. I urge all matriculants to apply to the program and take full advantage of it as it will open up other doors in the future.

DA congratulates Idols finalist from Limpopo

By Tiny Chidi, Interim DA Youth Limpopo Spokesperson:

The DA would like to congratulate Mmatema Moremi who has made it to the top ten in this year’s season 11 of South African idols competition.

Moremi who hails from Moletlane in Zebediela has managed to showcase her amazing talent by booking her place in the last top ten.

This is an indication that Limpopo has amazing talents that needs to be uncovered and supported by the department of spots, arts and culture.

With platforms such as Idols, the DA believes we can further encourage other youth across the province to follow their dreams and engage themselves in the recreational activities to keep them growing and learning.

The war against youth unemployment starts now

By Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:

The following is an extract from a speech delivered today by Athol Trollip to young unemployed residents in Ward 39, Rowallan Park, Nelson Mandela Bay, while on his 60 wards in 60 days tour of the Metro.

It is unacceptable that 47.3% of our NMB youth face unemployment and uncertain futures as a result of a stagnant economy and a disinterested government. It saddens and angers me that NMB Metro suffers the worst youth unemployment in South Africa.

I am in Rowallan Park today because the DA is committed to solving the youth unemployment crisis in this Metro. So many people I have met today are desperate for change, and desperate for jobs. We want to make NMB into a jobs Metro – a City for Jobs!

The DA has developed a “Jobs for Youth” programme, which will be rolled out after the 2016 elections:

  • An internship programme managed through the Special Programmes Directorate will focus on employing young people as interns, and will report directly to the Mayor.
  • Government directorates will directly train interns to impart comprehensive skills, and will be tested monthly.
  • Opportunity centres will be opened across the Metro where young people will be able to engage with specialists and experts. Comprehensive assistance will be offered in interview training, CV preparation and job applications.
  • Job Zones will be established, in partnership with opportunity centres. These will be checkpoints for employment availability and will provide communication from government on upcoming job opportunities in government and in the private sector.

In addition to this, the DA has already rolled out an entrepreneurship competition which will see a chosen individual mentored by a well-known local businessman in order for them to achieve their entrepreneurship dreams. This competition is just an example of how the DA will deliver hands on skills improvement, when we are in government to many many more young people.

The DA is set on winning the Bay at next year’s elections to work towards starting delivery, stopping corruption and creating jobs. I am committed to Jobs for Youth, and the young people in Rowallan Park have reaffirmed my commitment today.

Pictures are available hereherehere and here.

DA believes youth deserves opportunities

By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:

The Democratic Alliance hopes that the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of 2015 will contain some good news for the province. The report is due to be released on Wednesday.

Currently, at 45%, the Northern Cape has the highest youth unemployment rate in the country. The retrenchments at Kumba Iron One, one of the biggest employers in the province, and projected losses in the mining and agriculture sector does not bode well for the province.

The Democratic Alliance believes that it is critical for opportunities to be created so that we can address inequality together.

We must take our cue from the youth who remain optimistic in the face of adversity. While youth unemployment in the province is now the highest it has been since 2008, only 6% of our youth are discouraged from seeking work. This is even more remarkable, considering that provinces with lower levels of youth unemployment have higher levels of discouraged work seekers. Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have youth unemployment levels that are up to 10% lower than the Northern Cape, but 12% of their youth have become discouraged from seeking employment.

If we do not address the challenge of unemployment urgently, generations of South Africans will be burdened with poverty. The longer a young person is unemployed, the more his chances decrease of ever obtaining a job. For that reason, the Democratic Alliance believes that a Youth Wage Subsidy must be implemented which gives young South Africans experience in the labour market.

We also need to focus on vocational training, internship and apprentice programmes to develop skills needed in our economy.

We need to set up Red Tape Reduction Units, such as in the Western Cape, and assist SMME’s with development. A spirit of entrepreneurship is crucial for the South African economy. All SMME’s must be judged by the same standard when applying for government assistance. We need to eliminate the specter of patronage and cronyism that sees the politically connected few prosper.

Job creation for youth urgently needed

By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:

The Democratic Alliance calls on the provincial department of Economic Development & Tourism to do more to create an economic climate that is conducive for job creation. We also need the Office of the Premier to provide strategic leadership and coordination to ensure that the Northern Cape becomes a better place to do business in.

Job creation, especially for the youth, is urgently needed in the Northern Cape. Our levels of youth unemployment have increased by 11% in only six years. If we do not act today, we will have a social and financial catastrophe tomorrow.

Youth unemployment has reached its highest levels since 2008 and now stands at 45%. This is according to the national and provincial labour market report released by StatsSA yesterday. Earlier research has also indicated that the Northern Cape has some of the lowest job security levels in the country.

The Democratic Alliance believes that youth unemployment is one of the biggest threats to building a truly democratic South Africa. In the Western Cape, an internship model has been adopted by the provincial government which has seen the creation of 18 000 opportunities for young people. The job experience helps them to access more opportunities in the labour market.

We are emboldened by the spirit of our youth, who remain optimistic.

While almost half of our youth are unemployed, only 6% are discouraged workers. This is even more remarkable when one considers that provinces with better levels of youth employment have higher levels of discouraged workers. Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have youth unemployment levels that are up to 10% lower than the Northern Cape, but 12% of their youth are discouraged.

The youth are there and willing to work. They are simply waiting for the right conditions to be created.

What is concerning is that women are more likely to become discouraged than men. It is probably influenced by the fact that black women are much more likely to be unemployed than any other group. We need to ensure that women are not being prevented from entering the labour market.

Leader’s Newsletter: Government must establish an enabling environment for youth empowerment

By James Masango, MP and Provincial Leader:

This month, the country is celebrating Youth Month in remembrance of the youth of 1976 who fought bravely against Afrikaans being imposed as a medium of instruction in schools under the apartheid regime.

South Africans, and the youth in particular, have come a long way since then and yes, we certainly are in a better place today than we were 21 years ago but our hard earned democracy is not without its challenges. Today, South Africans are confronted with the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate rose to  26,4 % in the first quarter of this year meaning that , of the nearly 36-million employable people, only 15,5-million are currently employed, 5,5 million are not working and the rest are not economically active.

In Mpumalanga, the picture is even bleaker with the unemployment rate increasing from 26.6% in the last quarter of 2014 to 28.4% in the first quarter of 2015.

The Trade, Agriculture and Mining sectors, three of Mpumalanga’s top job producers have shed 12 000, 11 000 and 20 000 jobs respectively.

These numbers force me to ask the question, where will today’s youth find employment?

For a long time, the DA has championed the implementation of the Youth Wage Subsidy as an incentive for business owners to employ young people, giving them the skills and experience needed to contribute to the country’s economy.

The government responded by implementing the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), a watered-down version of the Youth Wage subsidy, hoping that it would promote employment for young people and create jobs in special economic zones once the relevant legislation had been promulgated.

In order to properly address youth unemployment, the government must create real incentives for the private sector to take on first time-employees and get more involved in skills development and training.

Not only do we need strong policies to bring about a significant decrease in youth unemployment, but the government must ensure that those tasked with the implementation of these polices have the capacity to plan, organise, lead and control the entire process.

Another way the government can address youth unemployment is to focus its attention to the country’s slow economic growth rate by creating an environment for businesses to thrive. This will allow young people who have gained the skills and experience through the proper implementation of the Youth Wage Subsidy to create their own employment opportunities.

Across the province, it is becoming all too common to see educated young people sitting at home with their qualifications because it is extremely difficult for them to find employment.

In municipalities that are further away from economic hubs like Mbombela and eMalahleni, the youth have become despondent because for them it is a struggle to access information on higher education or alternative job opportunities. Albert Luthuli, Nkomazi, Bushbuckridge, Thembisile Hani and Dr. J.S Moroka municipalities don’t only struggle with internet access but also network problems which further puts the youth in those areas at a disadvantage.

Things that we take for granted like internet access or university enrolment forms are not easily accessible in most rural areas. This only proves how wide the gap still is between urban and rural youth, which shows the levels of inequality. This cannot be the legacy that is attributed to the youth of 2015.

As Youth Month draws to a close, we owe it to the youth to get them employed through finding workable solutions to youth unemployment.


Western Cape Government announces June/July school holiday youth programmes

Media Advisory:

With the school holidays approaching, it is important that we, the whole of society, remain vigilant to ensure our youth remain safe during the school holiday period.

While we can protect our learners as far as possible while they are on the school premises, it is a reality that during school holidays, young people often make unhealthy and risky lifestyle choices because they have limited access to recreational opportunities or supervision. This is particularly the case in high crime and gang activity areas.

Tomorrow, 25 June 2015, Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer, Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato, Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, as well as Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, will announce the Western Cape Government’s plans to provide positive and safe alternatives for our youth during the June/July school holidays which commence Friday, 26 June 2015.

The Western Cape Government is committed to provide opportunities for the youth of our province throughout the year, not only during Youth month.

The announcement of the transversal youth interventions aims to positively engage, entertain and safeguard our youth during school holidays when they are at greater risk for exposure to substance abuse, drugs, violence and gangsterism.

All media are invited and welcome to attend.

Date:              Thursday, 25 June 2014

Time:              11:00

Venue:           Media Room, 15 Wale Street, Cape Town

There will be opportunities for photographs and interviews. Please allow time for signing in or confirm attendance with ID number in advance.

Wasteful, unauthorised expenditure for Youth Parliament

Marshall von Buchenroder (MPL), Member of Portfolio Committee on Public Participation:

The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature has pushed ahead with the erection of a R425 000 lunch tent for today’s Youth Parliament despite a recommendation by the institution’s public participation committee a month ago, not to use a tent to save costs.

The DA believes that in a fair society we need to practice expenditure on real service delivery rather than on jamborees.

This is another shocking example of wasteful expenditure of taxpayer’s money.  In a society where fairness prevails, the first place where the principles of good governance and responsible spending should be upheld is the provincial legislature.

On Wednesday it was revealed that the tender for the tent was only published on Monday, 15 June 2015, which in addition to ignoring the committee’s recommendation also places serious doubts whether fair procurement procedures were followed.

Furthermore, during Wednesday’s committee meeting I was threatened that I would be taken to the Ethics Committee for raising the expenditure of the tent in a media statement.

The DA is not here to cosy up to the governing party but to do oversight as mandated by the electorate.  We will continue to expose the squandering of public money.

I have also asked for a full breakdown of the cost of the event and we will monitor this.

To promote national reconciliation the DA believes these events should be more inclusive.  Youth should be drawn from all sectors of society and not just stronghold of the ANC.