Ricardo Mackenzie is passionate about the Mitchell’s Plain youth – especially those who are unemployed, and that is why his core focus is on crime, substance and drug abuse and youth unemployment programmes in ward 75.Mackenzie is the member of provincial parliament for Mitchell’s Plain. He says there is a standing programme which brings youth to parliament every year. “Learners from Tafelsig High School, Oval North High School, Portland High School and others, have been at parliament before.” He says this was done earlier this year and he hopes to do the same in October. Mackenzie says there is also the safety ambassador programme aimed at youth who are not going to varsity, not going to college or even thinking of applying to college. This programme is aimed at the youth who are more at risk of getting involved in drugs and gangsterism.It all started at a camp in Melkbosstrand with 150 leaners which led to social development creating an internship opportunity, and developed a youth at work programme. “The learners worked with social development and conducted surveys in Mitchell’s Plain on various social issues,” Mackenzie explains. Mackenzie says this was important because it could assist various departments to determine where there is a need for individuals. These learners also formed part of the youth cafe in Mitchell’s Plain. Mackenzie says the learners started compiling their own CVs and were also addressed by various stakeholders. They discussed issues like sexual abuse and drug abuse that could be affecting these learners. Mackenzie says although these programmes have had a positive impact on the community, it has to be done on scale to ensure that there is a massive impact in the next few years. “We need to do so much more and these people need to become role models for the rest of the community. This is where the conversation is now.” Mackenzie says the Mitchell’s Plain youth are positive about these programmes and want to be involved and get their friends involved. He says he is focused on expanding these programmes for youth development.