Covid-19: Government's relief not enough - Eastern Cape MEC

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Gift of the Givers handing out food parcels in Mooreesburg in the Western Cape. (File)
Gift of the Givers handing out food parcels in Mooreesburg in the Western Cape. (File)
Shavan Rahim
  • Eastern Cape Social Development MEC Siphokazi Lusithi says Covid-19 relief grants have made very little impact to cushion the economic blows South Africa's youth face.
  • During a Youth Parliament sitting in the National Assembly, Lusithi said education was key in creating more opportunities for young people.
  • The DA believes Covid-19 laid bare government's failed policies.


Government's Covid-19 relief grants have made very little impact to cushion the economic blows South Africa's youth face.

This is according to Eastern Cape Social Development MEC Siphokazi Lusithi who addressed the Youth Parliament sitting in the National Assembly on Friday.

"Our country's youth face different challenges to the class of 1976 who led uprisings. The Covid-19 pandemic has destroyed many sectors of our economy. Our young people are being left behind in education and other sectors. Everything must be centered around young people. If we are going to craft a new way forward, we must put young people at the forefront," she said.

"The relief grants and other social relief, it's made a small dent (had no impact) given the huge challenges with youth unemployment and socio-economic challenges affecting young people," Lusithi said.

She said education was key in creating more opportunities for young people.

"Our intention (in the Eastern Cape) is to develop all sectors and get young people involved. Our government has started to open the sector. The property sector is one we are looking at to get young people involved. Farming and agriculture are sectors we are looking at for youth development as we need sustainable farming to ensure food security," she said.

READ MORE| Ramaphosa: Young people must take the lead post-Covid-19

ANC MP Itumeleng Ntusbe said the debate comes at a time when the country's unemployment rate is high.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has taken back our efforts to balance the gap between the rich and poor. We are making a plea to government and private sector to make plans to save jobs. We are appealing to government to relook the education system. Let it accommodate all people," he said.

Free State Finance MEC Gadija Brown told young MPs that societies and governments are preparing for the future.

"The future will require a more streamlined workforce. About 30% of national parliaments will be led by women. Our presidents are targeting this, and most provinces have also achieved this target. But we need to look at what is their (women) position in society, in the work force and the economy," Brown said.

Brown said digital currency is going to be the backbone of the economy.

"Our value chains will be changing. Our youth must be prepared to be dynamic and susceptible to change. There is a call for 50% of youth in procurement, but why is it that we only hold the public sector to this standard. The private sector should also fall under this rule," she said.

READ ALSO| Cape Flats families bury their children on Youth Day

ANC MPL in Limpopo, Che Bonnie David Selane, said young people were becoming increasingly angry.

“Young people have a revolutionary responsibility to fight for this country. But violence and discrimination still dominate their lives. They are frustrated, because they cannot find opportunities. The success of this government will rely on the young people as young people contribute to the high unemployment rate,” he said.

DA MPL in the Northern Cape, Ofentse Mokae, said Covid-19 laid bare government's failed policies.

"We need youth labour to be absorbed using employer tax incentives. It can decrease the unemployment rate. The circumstances we are facing today paints a bleak picture of the future. Nobody dares blame the coronavirus for job losses. It (Covid-19) has revealed the little support our young people receive," he said.

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