SA must solve youth problems – Mapisa-Nqakula

2013-06-17 16:21

The best way to honour the youth who died in 1976 is to solve problems facing the current youth of South Africa, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has said.

“The best way to honour them is to resolve many problems faced by the youth today, which prevent them from realising their potential to be productive and fulfilled citizens,” Mapisa-Nqakula said in a speech prepared for delivery today.

She was addressing a youth celebration in Riviersonderend in the Western Cape.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the main problems faced by the youth were high unemployment, endemic poverty, crime and substance abuse.

About 3.3 million youngsters were neither employed nor studying.

This was an unacceptable state of affairs, she said.

“What future does this country have if we do not invest in our youth and create conditions that offer opportunities for the realisation of their full potential?”

Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africa had to continue investing in education and skills development, “but seek better results than are currently been achieved”.

She said “chronic” unemployment was the scourge that bred poverty, crime, substance abuse and the disintegration of families.

“My message to you is that we cannot afford to surrender to despair and helplessness. Together we can make sure that no one is written off as a hopeless case and left behind.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said government had a constitutional obligation to provide education and health to all citizens.

“But our youths also have to take personal responsibility to improve their circumstances. They must have the discipline, initiative and focus to conquer adversity and become productive citizens.”

She urged the youth to also consider careers within the defence ministry.

“We are currently looking at the enhancement of the force’s ability to stimulate local economic growth through various interventions and to assist communities in distress.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said the youth had to drive economic development and transformation needed for an inclusive economy that provided a better life for all South Africans.

“This is the only way we can truly honour all our youths who paid the ultimate price so that we may live as free men and women,” she said.

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