Honourable Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Honourable premier, honourable MEC’s, Members of the Legislature, senior officials and the gallery. I greet you all today.
Last week premier you spoke to the province, and titled your speech “Building the Eastern Cape we want”. Right now, this province is nowhere near what we want. After 25 years the premier has realised that the governing party has been sleeping, hence the dreams of the president as seen through his SONA. You admitted to this in your speech when you said, “We must stop sleeping at the wheel”.
The youth of this province have been hit the hardest by the consequences of maladministration and corruption in this province.
“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”
― Herbert Hoover
In his speech, the honourable premier mentioned that ‘the Provincial Development plan directs us to reduce unemployment by half in 2030’. The statistics show that in the past three years, the Eastern Cape has been the top performing province when it comes to unemployment, with a percentage increase every year. The youth forming the largest portion of those numbers at 37%. If things continue in this way I doubt very much that we can achieve that directive, instead unemployment might be doubled by 2030.
Honourable premier, Opening opportunities for young South Africans should be the “obsessive focus”.
The Eastern Cape that the youth want is one that is filled with opportunities, an opportunity province.
Opening of opportunities begins with access to information. Young people from rural or geographically isolated areas often have limited access to information and opportunities (almost all the action is happening in the cities). They are left to perish with no hope of ever getting opportunities to improve their lives and uplift their communities.
A strategy to reach out to those young people is urgently needed to curb the scourge of crime and social ills that is on the rise in rural areas as we speak.
I have previously reported on the department’s failure to secure an ICT contractor and as a result, libraries in the province are not equipped with ICT.
Libraries should be a means to bridge the digital divide. For the thousands of South Africans who do not have access to computers and the internet, community libraries should provide access to books, computers and the internet in order for people to be able to access opportunities.
As digitalisation advances, employment opportunities become increasingly confined to the internet. When libraries do not afford the youth access to the internet, they are essentially blocked from possible future employment opportunities. I plead with the premier fast track the provision of the Wi-Fi in our communities.
The costs of job hunting are rising by the day, some young people cannot afford it, and as a result they give up on the hope of ever finding a job. The cost of transport, internet café’s, postal services etc. can be too much. We call on your office to mobilise the department of employment and labour to find innovative ways to help our youth and enable them to take advantage of the little opportunities out there.
There are simply not enough internship or voluntary programmes available to provide all young secondary school graduates, who will not go on to tertiary education, with work experience which they can in turn use to enter the labour force.
The DA believes that the state can play an important role in providing these young South Africans with work experience while also providing them with an opportunity to serve our country. This opportunity would come in the form of a voluntary National Civilian Service year.
This should be offered to every matriculant who doesn’t qualify for tertiary education. The opportunity to provide a service to the country, or his or her community, will be in return for a stipend and valuable work experience. These can be in an area of the public sector where there is a clearly defined need (such as the police force, education and healthcare). If possible, the programme would provide a ‘springboard’ for further opportunities in the beneficiary’s chosen sector.
Honourable speaker, a driver’s licence is an important requirement in finding a job. And most parents cannot afford its cost. Why don’t you mobilise municipalities around this cause, let every matriculant be given this opportunity, working together with local municipalities provide a set number of driving lessons and weave the licensing fee for first time applicants. The DA where we govern has initiated this process and it hope to implement soon.
Honourable Premier, the DA run City of Jo’burg has an innovative and progressive programme called opportunity centres. This is where business owners get help to register their companies and Sars-related functions. They also have access to funding, markets, economic infrastructure and information to grow their businesses and get assistance with the completion of tender and other application documents. How does that sound for the Eastern Cape? Our youth have given up on the NYDA, they cannot do this and continue to fail young people.
The youth are looking up to you to get rid of the sleepists, the ageists, the advocates of cash for jobs and sex for jobs that continually lock them out of job opportunities. Such people imprison our youth in poverty and hopelessness. It will take a premier with absolute tenacity and courage to remove the shackles on their shoulders. You have 5 years to do that because they are becoming IMPATIENT.
The future of South Africa is dependent on young South Africans which are enabled through training, employment, education and business opportunities. The DA remains committed to these so that ours can be a province that prospers, that is free and fair, a province of opportunity as we build one Eastern cape for all, premised on equal opportunities for all.
I thank You.