On 16 June we commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1976 youth uprising and sacrifices made by people of that generation to build a democratic country.
There have been many gains since 1994 but the youth of South Africa remain affected by many desperate issues such as poverty, inequality and unemployment.
More needs to be done to promote dignity and development among the youth.
National Youth Development Agency
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) was established as a single, unitary structure addressing youth development issues at national, provincial and local government level.
The NYDA plays a leading role in ensuring that major stakeholders such as government, the private sector and civil society, prioritise youth development and contribute towards identifying and implementing lasting solutions to youth development challenges.
In April 2013, business, government, labour, civil society and non-governmental organisations signed the Youth Employment Accord to improve the equipping and placement of young people in jobs.
The Youth Employment Accord’s objectives are aligned with governments various efforts to support economic transformation. The aim is also to make the economy sensitive to young people’s employment needs and create five million jobs for the youth by 2020.
Government’s support for the NYDA is ongoing. The Presidential Youth Working Group, led by Deputy Minister in The Presidency Buti Manamela, is focusing on youth matters to improve the coordination of stakeholders and youth formations.
Another critical achievement is the amendment of the National Youth Policy (2009-2014) and adoption of the National Youth Policy (2015-2020). The policy’s focus is on economic participation, transformation, education, skills development, healthcare and combating substance abuse, nation building and social cohesion.
The NYDA is changing its focus to better serve the youth. Recently, the NYDA achieved its first ever clean audit and was declared fully complaint.
To become a credible and capable development agency, the NYDA shifted its core business from enterprise finance towards education and skills development. The biggest change was to convert from providing loans to awarding grants to young entrepreneurs.
The numbers tell a story of improved service delivery. However, the needs of the youth exceed the NYDA’s capacity. Collaboration with all sectors of society is necessary.
It is critical to harness the potential presented by the youth and use it to the advantage of our country’s growth and development. We have begun writing a different story: one of hope, determination, productivity and success. At the centre of this new story is a determined and empowered youth.
The youth of this country have said that they don’t want a ‘hand down’ but need a ‘hand up’. Help them to realise their full potential.
During 2014/15 the NYDA achieved the following:
- 1 034 youth-owned enterprises received NYDA Grant Funding resulting in 4 343 jobs.
- 62 916 entrepreneurs were supported through the NYDA Business Development Support services.
- 5 319 young people were enrolled in the NYDA 2nd Chance Matric Rewrite Programme.
- 300 youth were supported through the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund.
- 937 949 young people were supported through individual and group career guidance.
- 2 342 young people participated in the structured Youth Build programme.
- 12 490 young people were enrolled in National Youth Service (NYS) volunteer programmes.
- 57 412 young people were supported through the job-preparedness and life skills programmes.
NYDA Call Centre 0800 52 52 52
*Khathu Ramukumba is CEO of the NYDA.