National Youth Month: forget the corrupt NYDA and inefficient NYP

2015-06-01 08:16

Today marks the beginning of National Youth Month. It is a time to consider the contributions made by the youth , to our freedom. It is also meant to be a time to focus specifically on how to unlock the potential of the youth of today. There is a brief description about the importance of Youth Month on the South African government website. It speaks to the 1976 Soweto Uprising, of which this year marks the 39th anniversary. The 39th anniversary of what is woefully only one of many blood stains on our history. A second topic covered in the short blurb on Youth Month, is that of poverty.

The blurb explains that “the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has developed a national programme under the theme of "Youth Action for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime", before continuing to elaborate a bit more on the Soweto Uprising. Enter the National Youth Plan (NYP), again. The NYP 2015-2020 is a follow up on the 2009-2014 NYP, however, it “does not reinvent the wheel but rather uses lessons learnt from the previous NYP to create an environment that enables the youth to unleash their potential by identifying those mechanisms that will make this possible”...

A plan. Another plan: for us, by them. Hurrah.

This is democratic centralism in action. The  ease of control by one (central) idea under the guise of a multiplicity of ideas. It amounts to a planned or ‘command democracy.’ For this we owe a debt of gratitude to the bastardised version of socialism that was hatched under Vladimir Lenin and his “vanguard” party, the Bolsheviks. His was a government (and state and civil society and family and and and) that was controlled by a hand full of revolutionaries who ‘knew best.’ They necessarily represented the will of the people. Nothing done by this (elite) group could be considered to be anything but in the interest of the people.  Democratic Centralism – ‘freedom of debate married with the unity of action.’

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

In a manner that would make the Bolsheviks proud, the South African government is boasting about the plan it has to save the youth (insert jubilation here). It’s time to brace for a month long bombardment of messaging along these lines. The trouble, however, is that the NYDA is known more for being corrupt than what it is for being of any help to the youth. It is a top-heavy, top-down organisation that is a clunky bureaucratic nightmare. It is easier to make money selling one’s old clothes on Parow Market, than what it is to turn a profit with the help of this agency – that’s a personal account. Mine.

Aside from it being corrupt and slow-moving, it is entirely centralised and its leadership is quite hell-bent on bending all to its will, as is common practice in South Africa’s command democracy. As such there is little space for regional, local (much less individual) input and innovation. No, all that there is room for is compliance.

Compliance to centralism is bad enough but it would have been bearable if the 'plan' worked, but if unemployment and youth unemployment in particular are at a high, how can we say the wheel doesn’t need reinventing? This one-size-fits-all-approach boils down to the taking away of power from the many and keeping it in the hands of the few. This centrally planned command democracy is doing an excellent job of rolling itself forward and crushing the ability to pursue economic freedom under its weight. But that's to be expected when communists are charged with ensuring economic growth.

And so we sit, wondering ‘when will it ever change?’

Well, ‘it’ won’t. Not unless we do.

Not until we come up with our own plans. Not until we take initiative, put it into practice and keep working at it, until the results begin to show.

Let them celebrate their hollow plans, you make sure you go to school. Make sure you get a bursary and go to university. Get a part-time job and save that money. “Money for money’s sake” as Weber would put it. Buy and sell socks if you have to. Just make money, your own money. Legitimate money. The more you have the more you can have. That’s what economic freedom is. That is the spirit of capitalism; your hard work, talent and innovation rendering you economically free.

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