Building a foundation on which the youth of South Africa can flourish
South Africa is a young country, with a youthful population. As we head into a month where we celebrate the youthful fire that helped change the world, we are aware of the challenges today's youth face.
It falls upon our shoulders as leaders to build a foundation upon which the youth of South Africa can flourish. We understand that our investment in education and skills development for the youth is an investment in all of our futures. Through policy frameworks and partnerships we are laying the fertile soil for future growth.
The recently released Commission for Employment Equity Report shows we have work left to do. Black Africans remain a minority in top management in the private sector.
When we as a government speak of radical economic transformation, we mean creating an economy that has room for all South Africans. We mean growth that uplifts us all. We mean providing skills to our youth so that they are ready to move forward.
Government has changed its procurement rules: the public sector is compelled to set aside 30 per cent of the value of tenders bigger than R30 million for small enterprises.To bolster the growth of black-owned companies, the Department of Trade and Industry-administered Black Industrialists Programme will channel funds to companies in selected economic sectors to help diversify and grow the economy.
In May government released an anti-corruption discussion document. We aim to introduce measures to create resilient anti-corruption structures that will help us meet the goals we set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).
We will ensure that the message gets out to government, business, labour and civil society. We are ready and able to uproot this blight that robs so many of the promise of this country.
South African, youth have proven themselves adept at harnessing the possibilities inherent in the ICT sector. They have built solutions to address continental problems. They have harnessed technology – despite an acknowledged gap in technology standards – to make life better for themselves and all of Africa.
The young, as they did in 1976, have taken the lead in hurdling challenges in the commercial trade, agricultural and cross-border trade sectors.The young are the embodiment of the Africa Rising story. We will build on and continue to invest in sustainable innovation programmes that already exist.
Embracing innovation is an anchor of the NDP, one of the frameworks that guide our policy making. It talks, especially, about education, training and skills geared towards a knowledge society. This is a vision we South Africans share with the rest of Africa.
It is a vision expressed in the African Union's Agenda 2063, where the continent commits itself to "Investing in Africa's human capital for peace and development." Signatory governments to the African Union's Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa have committed to spend 1 per cent of available funding on research and development.
As it was with our liberation struggle, South Africa's future is bound up with Africa's. We encourage you to reach out to Africa. Network.
Build relationships. Find common ground from which to work. We will give you the tools to forge the future we can all be proud of.
We will give you the tools, but we will not push you into the light. It is up to you to find your place under the African sun. It is up to you to step out of the shadows and walk into the spotlight.
As we celebrate Youth Month we acknowledge the inspiration you provide.To paraphrase a familiar quote: Your actions inspire us to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.You are the leaders.
Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo