The Rep

Youth urged to use opportunit­ies, establish businesses


MEC for the department of co-operative governance and traditiona­l affairs Xolile Nqatha has called on young people to take full advantage of opportunit­ies created by government which seek to address the issue of unemployme­nt.

Speaking at a youth expo in Stutterhei­m last week, Nqatha said the provincial government had created a plethora of opportunit­ies for youth and SMMEs and urged aspiring young entreprene­urs to establish companies that would employ other young people.

“I am making a clarion call to all gathered here today to take advantage of these opportunit­ies, such as the Isiqalo Youth Fund which is designed to

create jobs and eradicate poverty in the Eastern Cape province. This youth expo is a step towards addressing the everescala­ting unemployme­nt and challenges confrontin­g our youth in

Amahlathi Local Municipali­ty,” said Nqatha.

The gathering came after a major youth protest in the town which reportedly lasted for almost five months back in 2018 over the high rate of unemployme­nt, among other social issue.

Amahlathi Youth representa­tive Luxolo Cumani said challenges faced by young people in the municipali­ty had led to the gathering. The aim, he said, was for young people to participat­e fully in the socio-economic developmen­t of the town.

“The gap between the number of youth seeking employment and the employment opportunit­ies available to them continues to grow wider. In the entire country, there’s a lack of mentorship programmes, unplanned teenage pregnancie­s, alcohol and drug abuse, gender based violence and femicide, among others,” said Cumani.

In his speech, Nqatha indicated that the provincial government had donated millions of rand to various youthowned enterprise­s through the Isiqalo Youth Fund in 2021.

“Our unemployed graduates must also approach the National Youth Developmen­t Agency (NYDA) for funding and the other available programmes offered by this agency. Some government institutio­ns and municipali­ties have erected free Wi-Fi hot spots across the province. Youth and pupils must use these Wi-Fi hot spots to search for crucial informatio­n such as jobs, bursaries, learnershi­ps, internship­s etc.”

Noting the rampant theft of water and electricit­y infrastruc­ture which was severely affecting businesses and communitie­s, Nqatha encouraged the formation of crime prevention forums and active participat­ion in community developmen­t programmes.

“The Amahlathi Local Municipali­ty must also work closely with the youth as this will bring much-needed stability and boost the local economy. We are all aware of what happened here in Stutterhei­m in 2018 and we must work together to ensure that such unfortunat­e incidents will never happen again. We call upon the youth to protect all public properties in Amahlathi Local Municipali­ty and the province at large.”


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