Youth behind ‘event being a flop’

2018-07-04 06:02
The tombstone of the late Cassius Plaatjies that was unveiled on Youth Day (16 June) in Tsantsabane.Photo: Boipelo Mere

The tombstone of the late Cassius Plaatjies that was unveiled on Youth Day (16 June) in Tsantsabane.Photo: Boipelo Mere

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“The event was a flop because we would not take anymore ‘morsig’ from our government like we used to.

“We are the ones who discouraged the community to attend the event after they did their door-to-door campaign.”

That was the admittance given by a group of youths in Postmasburg in the Tsantsabane Municipality to Express Northern Cape following the Youth Day commemoration in their town.

The community regarded the 2018 Youth Day comme­moration in Postmasburg as a cash cow for outsiders, and humiliation and disrespect towards locals.

The celebration is reported to have fitted the bill of at least R2,1 million for community members from Postmasburg including towns within a 250 km radius (Upington, Daniëlskuil, Kathu, Jenn-Haven and Olifantshoek).

Hosted at the Tsantsabane Showgrounds, the community labelled it a total flop after it was boycotted by the community members at large while the Northern Cape Department of Sports, Arts and Culture regarded it a success.

On the morning of the celebration, the tombstone of the heroic youth leader Cassius Plaatjies was unveiled.

Community members accused the event organisers of using the event to enrich certain individuals who dicta­ted, sidelined and imposed the task team chosen by the community.

“All they came to do was to take the budget that was allocated towards the event.

“They sold us a dream in terms of collecting signatures as prove that there were interaction in order to have something to fall back on,” one of the youth members lashed.

The youth expressed their frustration at the appointment of an events management company, while they were used as volunteers for mobilisation, marshals and security personnel for the event.

According to the spokesperson for the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Conrad Fortune, the service provider is one of four events management companies that are hired to organise Northern Cape events on a rotational basis.

“The department has budgeted an amount of R9 million for all commemorative events being Freedom Day, May Day, Youth Day, Mandela Day, Women’s Day, Heritage Day, Mayibuye Uprising, Reconciliation Day and Human Rights Day,” said Fortune.

The blame is placed on ignorance of the 2017 declaration on youth empowerment which derived from the Youth Summit hosted in their town last year.

The declaration, made in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), which is a year old in June, listed their grievances and is reported to be still awaiting implementation.

“Instead of working towards the implementation of the declaration, they bring a celebration event which we don’t benefit from.”

The youth rather applaud the mining companies and the private sector for trying to bring changes to the town through its continuous social labour plans, and blame the custodians of the town for not having a plan.

“The private sector is trying their best, but they are not the municipality and should not be expected to take over the duties of the municipality, although we can understand that their role is to make a profit. They even proved their role through a roadshow they performed earlier this year.”

“They (the department) were smart in their approach to us, which was merely a tactic to collect the funds.

“We made it clear to them during the first meeting that we are not going to allow money to leave this already poor town.

“It is common knowledge that if you come as government to host an event of such a magnitude, the bulk of procurement must be done locally. Only if there is no skills, you outsource.

“But they came with their own service providers and tricked us,” a youth member said.

Dismissing the allegations of disregarding the community, Fortune said interactive dialogue sessions took place in Postmasburg to promote social cohesion, nation building and to promote and market the Youth Day event.


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