South Africa: With their great numbers and willpower the youth could change SA

By Sello Ivan Phahle

I wrote this article to conscientise the youth about the kingmaker status they have in the upcoming national elections.

Young people represent a potentially powerful political force in South Africa. If they all used their voices in unity, they could make a dramatic difference in the country by overthrowing the ruling party in South Africa, the ever so disappointing, arrogant and corrupt African National Congress. Youth voting statistics support this phenomenon greatly as people under the age of 29 years constitute to almost 22% – translated to roughly around nine million people – of the voting community.

With these great numbers and enough willpower they could whirl around the faces of politicians and political parties to address their burning issues and concerns; being high unemployment, inadequate access to quality and affordable education and poor infrastructure.

But unfortunately, this is only just an idea and not a reality because the youth prefer to stay on the sidelines of all politics and to aggravate the situation, politicians ignore them anyway. The main reason for this act of ignorance is that politicians tend to focus their attention on their mainstream of voters, the older generation.

This situation is not unique to South Africa, it is a global phenomenon. The number of young voters who participate in democratic elections is steadily decreasing. Most analysts identify the cause of this as the disinterest of millennials in politics altogether. But on the contrary research and opinions from the youth itself suggests otherwise.

The youth are very much well aware of the political dynamics in the country and are actively participating in political discussions.

Research by the Institute for Security Studies reveals that the youth feel isolated from formal politics, have little or no trust at all in politicians and have had negative experiences with the government from which they required services from.

Most young people are highly critical of political leaders who fail to interact with them on a meaningful and relevant level. They complain that their cries, grievances and frustrations more often than not fall on deaf ears. Available evidence suggests that just because they do not belong to any political party does not mean they are clueless about politics.

The youth actually do understand that voting is of the essence as it is a democratic privilege. They have clear views on the challenges and are more than willing to engage and act. They do not see how the system will work in their favour or how political parties will attend to their immediate challenges. Unemployment and lack of access to free quality education are pressing issues.

There seems to be an attempt by the government to silence the youth. They do not want young people to function, hence the denial of free quality education and the ever increasing unemployment rate.

But the media is also to be blamed for this, simply because the media is critical to the social agenda of any country.

When you look at the way in which young people (especially black) are portrayed in movies, telenovela, radio, magazines and newspapers, it is in a very negative way as if to say the country would be better off without these people.

The ISS research published in March also revealed that the youth are bothered by the corruption infested in our political parties, the leaders and the system as a whole. It has become apparent to the youth that political representatives such as ward councillors all the way to the number one office is corrupt and defends kleptocracy.

Over the years this behaviour seems to be rewarded by getting better position and greater political power. This behaviour never stands still. It is always getting worse or better.

When the ANC were not punished by voters for the former President Thabo Mbeki’s HIV denialism as well as the missing billions for an “Alexandra renewal”, that automatically created a context for Nkandla: Jacob Zuma to loot the state and outsource his executive office to the Guptas as well as Cyril Ramaphosa receiving Bosasa money.

When you do nothing about misbehaviour, then you are actually supporting and promoting its repeating itself – another important reason why they youth ought to vote.

Despite all the issues raised above, the question still remains. Should young people participate in the upcoming national elections and can they have a meaningful effect on the political landscape as a result of their mark on the ballot paper?

As mentioned before, the youth vote does matter, so much so that the collective “youth vote” could actually sway the election. No radical change will occur if the youth continues to take a back seat.

The youth ought to stand up for themselves and find ways for the political system to hear them out and make a change. It’s very clear that no one is going to vote and fight for the interests and concerns of young people except for young people.

For many young people, adulthood brings many new challenges, like university, marriage, buying a house, paying for your own health insurance, and/or starting a business, all of which could radically change your perspective on political issues.

While you can’t predict who or where you’ll be in four years, you can be sure that the political officials elected into office and the policies they implement will affect your life in the coming months and years.

Through voting the youth can put themselves in power regardless of whichever party leads the country. In today’s tech-savvy world, there is no excuse not to vote because you do not know enough about the parties.

In fact, one might find it harder to escape the day-to-day political news than subscribe to it. In an era in which Twitter is a preferred means of communication for many political leaders has become as crucial as their party’s websites for disseminating information about relevant issues.

The current online climate allows young voters to form a fuller picture of the candidates and their platforms in a medium they are familiar with. The act of voting can push parties in the right and desired direction of the youth and most importantly consistently so.

They will energise the political system and steer their countries into a new and fresh direction. A direction that will uplift and benefit all generations and generations to come. The youth vote has the potential to be extremely influential.

Increasing youth voter turnout is very much crucial in getting the millennial generation to grasp on and never let go of the electoral process. In this manner they will grow up to be well informed and responsible citizens and most importantly the culture of voting shall not die out. Instead it shall continue to grow and make our country purposeful.

Sello Ivan Phahle is managing director of SIP Media

Source City Press


SA: KZN Youth the Biggest Casualty in Political Killings – ANCYL

By Kaveel Singh

The ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal has commended law enforcement officials after the arrest of Harry Gwala District Mayor Mluleki Ndobe.

His arrest has been linked to the investigation of the murder of former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary general Sindiso Magaqa.

Ndobe was meant to appear in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court along with a second person on Monday. He is now expected to appear on Tuesday.

“The ANC Youth League has absolute faith in the criminal justice system and the ability of the Hawks to investigate. We call upon the Hawks to leave no stone unturned in their investigation to ensure justice for a young selfless leader who was taken away from us before his time,” the KZN ANCYL said in a statement on Monday.

‘Barbaric and senseless political killings’

The league added that the case was serious.

“There are many young people who fell prey to the barbaric and senseless political killings in our province. We commend the good work that has been done so far by the Hawks task team which has seen too many people being arrested in connection with the political killings.

“The arrests give hope that other similar cases will soon see similar developments.

“The youth in this province has been the biggest casualty in these senseless killings of political activists. We therefore call for the full might of the law to be meted against anyone who is involved in these senseless killings no matter their standing in society.”

Magaqa died in hospital in September 2017, around two months after he was shot in Umzimkhulu.

One man, Sibusiso Ncengwa, was arrested almost a year after Magaqa’s death in the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.

At the time of this death Magaqa was a councillor in Umzimkhulu, which falls under the Harry Gwala Municipality.

Soon after the Magaqa died, ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala said he was concerned about the violence in the Harry Gwala region, fearing that it was becoming a hotspot.

Source News24

SA: Programmes to Prepare Youth for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Deputy President David Mabuza says government is implementing programmes in a way that ensures that the country is prepared and does not lag behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mabuza said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“… Government is alive to the changing environment and has committed to ensuring that key programmes are implemented to align our training and development with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“We cannot afford to lag behind emerging global developments and that is why we must engage in a process of continuous innovation, research, skilling our people, in particular the youth, in order to meet the demands of today’s knowledge-based economy,” he said.

ANC MP Cornelia September had asked Mabuza to unpack government programmes that are targeted towards youth and women with a view to addressing unemployment and how the programmes would prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mabuza said in everything government does, there is an understanding and clarity that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is “not a destination, but a reality of the moment”.

He said the pace of change over the last few years has largely been shaped by technological disruption and innovation.

“Already, there are sectors that are now supplemented by robotics and other artificial intelligence inventions.

“Simply put, there are jobs that were previously considered as vocational but are now becoming technology-intense and require specialised knowledge and skills. We therefore have to keep up with these developments.”

Mabuza said it is precisely for this reason that the process is currently underway to appoint individuals to the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as announced by the President in the State of the Nation Address in 2018.

The commission will coordinate the development of South Africa’s national response through a comprehensive action plan to deal with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“As government, we recognise the need to make smart investments in research and development that support our industrialisation plan, including manufacturing, that will lead to the creation of more jobs,” Mabuza said.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is investing in a range of outreach interventions that enhance the capacity of young people and women to create employment opportunities for themselves and for others.

The department also supports a number of accelerated training programmes in areas where there are dire skills shortages. This includes, for example, programmes providing training in data science and analytics.

“It also includes the mLab initiative that provides mobile application development support to youth-based enterprises. Through this programme, the DST is providing opportunities for more young people and women to interact with the technologies that will shape our future.

“Other initiatives include a network of Industrial Development Centres and technology stations where a large number of the beneficiaries are women and young people,” Mabuza said.

Getting youth and women on board

Through the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, government is forging partnerships with key industry players in the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) space to implement programmes that prepare youth for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

These programmes include the training of young people in various disciplines related to the 4th Industrial Revolution such as coding, data analytics and Blockchain.

“Our partnership with Google has, since 2017, benefitted 131 980 youth, 58% of whom are female.

“Through the South Africa Network Academy Programme, CISCO has, to date, trained 10 590 young people and has set a target of 15 000 in 2019.

“Over the past two years, the Huawei Seeds of the Future Program continues to expose students to advanced ICT knowledge,” the Deputy President said.

In addition to this, Microsoft is involved in a new partnership programme in South Africa, targeting the training of a million youth by 2023.

“Young people will be the major beneficiaries of these training programmes. Government is also working on an enabling environment for e-commerce, which will go a long way towards enabling SMMEs to provide services and transact online,” Mabuza said.

Through its ICT Women Empowerment Programme, government has so far trained 450 women on digital skills to empower them with necessary skills required to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Source Allafrica

South Africa: Social Development DPT Hosts Youth Camp In Ladysmith

Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu. Picture: GCIS

The Department of Social Development will host Provincial Youth Camp in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The camp is held in partnership with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and forms part of government’s initiative of building a resilient youth cohort who can be able to independently extricate themselves out of poverty through various opportunities.

It will further serve as a tool to bring back hope for the hopeless youth, thus addressing the problem of youth unemployment in South Africa which is central to the achievement of the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP) target of 6 percent unemployment.

The youth will during the camp learn amongst other things how to unite and form cooperatives, youth clubs as well as drafting of business plans so that in return they can be able to contribute towards a prosperous South Africa. By the end of the camp the youth would be equipped with relevant skills and knowledge to become agents of change in their respective communities.

The MEC of Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal, Ms Weziwe Thusi, will officially open the provincial youth camp.

According to Stats South Africa’s mid-year population report (2018), South Africa is a youthful population. Young people between the ages of 15-34 years old make up 20.6 million people, which constitutes 35.7% of the total South African population.

Despite their numerical majority, young people of employable age remain unemployed and are vulnerable to chronic diseases such as HIV and Aids pandemic and the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse. Youth unemployment, however, is not unique to South Africa; it is a global headache as employment in the formal sector employment continues to decline at an alarming rate.

Data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reveals that approximately 600 million people in the African continent are youth between 15-35 years and most of them are unemployed. Despite the annual increase in the education enrollment at both basic and tertiary levels; millions of young people face long-term unemployment.

Source iAfrica

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Mbeki urged South Africa youths to vote in 2019 election


Former President Thabo Mbeki has urged youth of South Africa to register to vote in the upcoming elections, reminding them that this constitutional right came at a price.

In a video message shared by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation on Twitter on Wednesday, the former head of state reminded South Africans of the country’s very first time democratic elections in 1994.

“[About] 25 years ago, millions of us waited for hours in long queues to cast our votes in South Africa’s very first democratic elections. Many people paid with their lives to bring about this remarkable achievement,” Mbeki said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced, in his state of the nation address last week, that the national elections would be held on May 8.

A number of political parties have already launched their manifestos and are on campaign trails to get votes.

Mbeki said the right to vote should not be taken lightly.

“Accordingly, we dare not take for granted our right to vote. In our country, 17 million of those eligible to vote are young people. However, only 8 million of these have registered to vote,” he said.

“All of us must vote to bring about the change we seek as well as make an important statement about the South Africa we want. We therefore urge all our young people to use the remaining time to register at their local IEC office. Please note that the voters’ roll will only close after the election date has been gazetted.”

According to the IEC, over 700 000 new voters registered during the final registration weekend of 26 and 27 January. This brought the total number of registered voters on to over 26.7-million.

Most encouragingly, of the 703 794 new registrations, more than 81% (574 899) were under the age of 30, which showed that more young people were heeding the call to register.

Combined with new registrations during the March 2018 registration weekend, the voters’ roll has seen over 1.1 million new voters added ahead of the upcoming elections.

Source Sowetan Live

Job-hunting can exacerbate poverty for unemployed SA youth, study finds

The cost of job-hunting is one of the reasons many young people remain unemployed in South Africa.

Unemployment in the country has increased from 21.5% to 27.2% over the last decade.

Researcher Lauren Graham is part of a team that’s collecting data for an ongoing study that explores the cost of looking for work.

The Siyakha Youth Assets for Employability Study assess whether government programmes are effectively helping young people in their efforts to find employment.

Young people are engaged in fairly intensive job search activities – which we would expect given the high rates of unemployment – but they are spending exorbitant amounts on the cost of work-seeking.

— Lauren Graham, Director at Centre for Social Development In Africa – University Of Johannesburg
The study has found that young South Africans spend an average of R938 a month looking for work, Graham explains.

Transport, internet access, printing, application fees and agent’s fees are some of the expenses jobseekers face.

Graham argues that job-hunting has become a process that exacerbates poverty for low-income households.

They come from poor households, where the household income is about R2500 a month. The cost of work-seeking is a significant chunk of household income.

— Lauren Graham, Director at Centre for Social Development In Africa – University Of Johannesburg
We argue that this makes it a poverty exacerbating process. Households have to make difficult decisions and it becomes complex for young people.

— Lauren Graham, Director at Centre for Social Development In Africa – University Of Johannesburg
The study recommends that the government should invest more in labour centres and other support services to lessen the burden on young people and help them improve their prospects of finding work.

Source Cape Talk