EXTRACT OF A SPEECH – DACRE HADDON, MPL, SPEAKING IN FORT BEAUFORT AT A DA JUNE 16 YOUTH EVENT

Fellow South Africans

Thirty-six years ago in 1976 several hundred youth revolted against an Apartheid Government to oppose the imposition of Afrikaans as a language in schools.

Many of these students were killed and remain deceased heroes.

What was significant about the 1976 uprising in Soweto?

The significance was that supposedly young, inarticulate inexperienced members of our society-our youth stood up to be counted!

The Youth of that time were brave individuals fighting for their youth rights under a disgraceful oppressive bullying Apartheid government.

What was supposed to have happened from that event was to have had a vibrant powerful youth in South Africa to day.

Yet ladies and gentlemen what has happened?

The Youth to day in South Africa have been betrayed by government.

The morale of youth today is probably worse than under apartheid!

Little has changed for the youth of today.

So ladies and gentlemen that is all we can celebrate.

The Youth of 1976 lit the torch for you, the youth today, to stand up and be counted.

Friends, the youth of South Africa today have been betrayed by this government.

As youth there is little to celebrate for you.

Most youth are unemployed.

Many of you struggle on a daily basis to survive.

The blight of HIV/AIDS is causing an increase in child-headed households.

A shocking education system is letting you down from obtaining decent schooling.

The moral fibre of our youth has deteriorated to such an extent that thousands of young girls prostitute themselves to fall pregnant in order to obtain a child grant to live.

Government funding for youth programmes this province has been cut by 13,8 million for this financial year.

The highest youth unemployment in the country is in this province.

This provincial government pays lip service to youth and uses Youth Day celebrations as an excuse for a party.

So what is the solution to this problem?

Firstly the solution lies with each of you as young individuals.

The Constitution protects your rights so stand up for your rights.

Secondly, decide that from today you are going to empower yourself and your friends by doing the following:

  1.  Petition the Legislature that youth rights are not being recognised and more effort needs to be put in to increase job opportunities and youth funding in the province.
  2. Look at yourself and decide you will from today be the moral torch for yourself and to others from the way you behave.
  3. Make sure your actions and behaviour influences others to change and become disciplined.
  4. Empower yourself by reading and attending school regularly.
  5. Take a lead in your church and community with youth programmes. If your church has no such programme start one.
  6. Live in such a way that people and the community look up to you.
  7. Be strong-be tough with politicians from all parties. Push us to account to you. Fight for your rights.
  8. Use the Provincial Legislature more to ensure that Youth issues and problems are receiving the funding and political attention it deserves.
  9. Demand to address the portfolio committee on Youth Affairs.
  10. Demand that the politicians from Bhisho meet with you regularly and embark with you on action programmes.
  11. Demand that proper mechanisms are in place for opportunities for you to get a sustainable job.
  12. Demand that the proposed Youth wage subsidy introduced by the DA years ago and is now at the focus of government policy is implemented.
  13. In the Western Cape the DA implemented a wage subsidy in which 2 500 young people have benefitted since 2009. Ask Bhisho: why can’t this wage subsidy happen here like in the Western Cape?

To our young Ladies and gentlemen we say-be tough-be resilient-don’t back down.

There is hope-you must sustain that hope and create the opportunities and mobilise to become a coherent, principled, disciplined youth ambassador to your immediate community.

We wish you luck-you have our support and please please-shake up the government at Bhisho to address your concerns regularly.

I thank you.