President Jacob Zuma says youth development remains a priority and that he has established a Presidential Task Team to coordinate all youth programmes to ensure that they have an impact on the lives of young people.
The President said this when he responded to questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday.
President Zuma had been asked whether there were any programmes that have been established as an intervention to improve the development of young people by the Presidency.
“To enable better coordination and championing of all these youth projects by the Presidency, last week I established a Presidential task team on youth development which is chaired by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela comprising 18 Deputy Ministers.
“I am also establishing a Presidential Youth Working Group to improve the coordination of stakeholders and youth formations.
“We take youth development seriously which is why I have asked that it be located in the Presidency … under the leadership of Deputy Minister Manamela,” he said.
The President said this as Deputy Minister Manamela is currently working on the development of the National Youth Policy focusing on economic participation, transformation, education, skills development, healthcare and combating substance abuse, as well as nation building and social cohesion.
Listing some of the programmes that would be coordinated through the task team, the President said that the National Youth Development Agency (NDYA) has disbursed a total of R28 million to support youth entrepreneurs which has supported 741 youth owned enterprises and created 4 189 new and substantive direct jobs for the 2014/15 financial year.
He said since he launched the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund over a year ago, it has funded 300 people who passed Grade 12, most of them from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
Meanwhile, the President said the Expanded Public Works Programme has since seen an increase in the participation by young people, with numbers increasing from 229 642 in 2009/10 to 452 999 in the 2014/15 financial year.
President Zuma also said that the Water and Sanitation Department planned to train 15 000 young people as plumbers, artisans and water agents.
“Economic growth is a fundamental solution to improve opportunities for our youth. We continue to work with business, labour and the community sector to improve the economic climate to enable inclusive growth and development.
Relations with SADC and other African states remain cordial
The President was asked if government had taken any steps to repair relations with the neighbouring Southern African Development Community (SADC) following recent attacks on foreign nationals.
He said when the attacks happened, government met with high commissioners and ambassadors to firstly condemn the attacks and to brief them on steps that were being taken to restore calm.
President Zuma also said to restore South Africa’s reputation abroad, government would be sending a report to the African Union (AU) Commission and the United Nations (UN) outlining the challenges and all the measures government took to resolve the situation. – SAnews.gov.za