KwaDukuza mayor engages local youth

2016-04-13 06:00
Photo: supplied KwaDukuza Mayor Ricardo Mthembu speaking at the debate session hosted by the municipality last week to tackle issues pertaining to the municipality’s performance with regards to youth developmental issues.

Photo: supplied KwaDukuza Mayor Ricardo Mthembu speaking at the debate session hosted by the municipality last week to tackle issues pertaining to the municipality’s performance with regards to youth developmental issues.

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THE KwaDukuza Municipality, partnering with Livity Africa, hosted a debate on Tuesday, 5 April, where youth had the opportunity to engage with mayor Ricardo Mthembu on issues pertinent to them.

Several issues were raised by the young participants including nepotism, the municipality’s bursary fund, dysfunctional ward committees and the absence of young people on these structures and the creation of sustainable jobs.

Chairperson of the youth committee Councillor Sithembiso Magubane said young people are not represented during Integrated Development Planning forums, therefore, issues pertaining to youth are not raised and do not form part of the municipality’s developmental plan.

Local youth activist Sihle Khwela applauded the municipality for providing new sporting facilities, but said in its 2014/2015 annual report the money budgeted for these facilities was not clear.

He said the municipality needs to develop a system to follow up on the bursaries it awards to ensure recipients benefit accordingly.

Khwela said he believes if young people are informed, educated and preoccupied with developmental activities, they would be less involved in protest action, would not have time to indulge in drug and substance abuse and unprotected sexual activities.

He said on the Activate Leadership website – network for young leaders across the country – young people can find a document titled ‘190 ways of non-violent protest’ which could provide alternative means for young people to express grievances.

Khwela said he started an organisation called Young Minds Empowerment Project through the youth leaders network Activate Leadership which gathers and churns out relevant information for young people.

His organisation can be found on Facebook as Young Minds or contact Khwela on 074 333 1631.

KwaZulu-Natal community policing forum youth board chairperson Lungelo Zulu said the municipality should play a role of empowering young people to become entrepreneurs and create an environment conducive for their business ventures to thrive.

“The local business people should play a mentorship role to these youth entrepreneurs instead of what is happening where they seek to create monopolies which shut out youth in business. Community leaders have the role of supporting these youth in business initiatives and influencing the community to do the same,” Zulu added.

He urged local councillors within the youth committee to push for a revision of the municipality’s supply chain management policy as, he said, it is currently failing to prioritise young entrepreneurs.

“In its current state it fails to play a grooming role and therefore fails to support youth in business who find themselves competing with companies which have been trading for over 10 and 20 years and have massive experience and resources.

“Not only that, they find themselves competing with companies from even other provinces which does not assist the local economy as a whole as those companies make money and leave and an opportunity for currency to be recirculated within the municipal boundary is lost,” he said.

Zulu said the youth desk would push for 40% of youth representation in ward committees in the new term of office.

With regards to the mayor’s comments that young people form a larger number of participants during community protests, Zulu said this can be “linked more so to information not being provided sufficiently, redress not being undertaken to update youth on developments on their concerns around municipal programmes and services.”

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