Our fu­ture lies with youth – Ramaphosa

The Star Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KUBEN CHETTY

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa told the Methodist Church of South Africa that the ANC was fo­cus­ing on young peo­ple as they would de­ter­mine how suc­cess­ful the coun­try would be­come in the next quar­ter-of-a-cen­tury.

Ramaphosa was in­vited to speak at the church’s coastal re­gion gath­er­ing by KwaZulu-Natal Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment MEC Sihle Zikalala.

“There are more young peo­ple in uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges and this is the best po­si­tion for our young peo­ple.”

He said the gov­ern­ment would fo­cus on early child­hood de­vel­op­ment to en­sure that all chil­dren were given an equal start in life.

“The first 1 000 days are cru­cial and we want to fo­cus on nu­tri­tion and health­care.

“Many young peo­ple are not work­ing, even when they have de­grees and diplo­mas. “We are go­ing to cre­ate jobs – young peo­ple must be em­ployed and they must play a role as they will in­herit the coun­try.”

Ramaphosa said that the last 25 years were cru­cial. How­ever, the les­sons that had been learnt would be re­in­forced over the next quar­ter-of-a-cen­tury.

On Sat­ur­day, the pres­i­dent high­lighted ed­u­ca­tion in the party’s key Jan­uary 8 speech.

Ramaphosa said the party was par­tic­u­larly proud of the fact that learn­ers from pre­dom­i­nantly poor and work­ing-class back­grounds (quin­tiles 1-3) again made up the greater ma­jor­ity of those at­tain­ing bach­e­lor passes.

“Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela said it best when he re­marked: “Ed­u­ca­tion is the most pow­er­ful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

“Gauteng and Free State have con­sis­tently per­formed well and the top 10 best per­form­ing schools are in these two prov­inces. A spe­cial ap­pre­ci­a­tion is ex­tended to the Eastern Cape De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, whose pass rate in­creased by 5.6% to achieve an over­all rate of 70.6%.

“Much, much more needs to be done to en­sure that ac­cess is com­bined with qual­ity across the length and breadth of the coun­try,” he had said.

Yes­ter­day, he ad­mit­ted that for some time it had ap­peared that the ANC had lost its way.

“We are us­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences of yes­ter­day so we can be stronger to­mor­row. We are work­ing hard to grow the econ­omy and we have a clear vi­sion.”

He also spoke about crime in the coun­try, vow­ing to work to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce gen­der-based vi­o­lence and crimes against women and chil­dren.

Ramaphosa asked the church to pray for the party and for the coun­try ahead of na­tional elec­tions, say­ing “all of us need your prayers and we should know we have your sup­port but also that you are walk­ing this path with us”.

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa prays with clergy at his of­fi­cial res­i­dence, Dube House, in Dur­ban. | ELMOND JIYANE GCIS

ANC mem­bers carry a cake to cel­e­brate the party’s 107th an­niver­sary at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban. | ELMOND JIYANE GCIS

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