Johannesburg – As the country continued to battle high levels of youth unemployment, government was working on programmes to promote confidence in the economy to attract investors, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
“We need the economy to grow so that jobs can be created, especially for our youth. Towards this goal, government continues to implement programmes aimed at promoting confidence in the economy, working with labour and business,” Zuma told thousands of people at Orlando Stadium in Soweto there to commemorate the 1976 June Soweto Uprising.
He said government’s efforts were paying off as "numerous companies" had invested in the country recently.
“Recently we have seen new investments by companies in the country such as Toyota, BMW, Nestle, Mercedes Benz, Dursots and All Joy and others. These investments demonstrate confidence in our country and the economy. We will continue our programmes of removing obstacles to investments and to work with labour and business as we re-ignite growth,” he said.
Zuma said government worked in a difficult climate as the situation was negative globally too. He called on the youth to stop being labourers and to expand their horizons by becoming entrepreneurs.
Most powerful weapon of all
“We encourage young people to open up their own small businesses. The democratic government has created opportunities for support by many agencies within government. A lot has been achieved in the past five years by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) on education and skills development and in supporting young entrepreneurs,” he said.
Zuma appealed to the youth to pay homage to those killed in 1976. He said the best way to do that was to study and focus on education. Addressing the near-capacity crowd, Zuma spoke about the importance of education and the role parents and society should play in ensuring schools were safe for learning.
“Let me reiterate that we urge the current generation to pay tribute to Hector Pieterson, Tsietsi Mashinini, Khotso Seatlholo, Mbuyisa Makhubu, Hastings Ndlovu and many others by prioritising education. We are looking up to you as the youth, to move South Africa forward, and that you will do, armed with the most powerful weapon of all, education.”