Give young people dignity, scrap NYDA, and focus on real jobs and opportunities

Issued by Nicholas Nyati – DA Youth Interim Federal Leader
16 Jun 2022 in News

The following speech was delivered by the DA Youth Interim Federal Leader Nicholas Nyati during the party’s main Youth Day celebrations in Alexandra, Gauteng.

Today we are commemorating exactly 46 years after the youth of 1976 decided to define their struggle, stand up and fight for what they believed in.

As we gather here today, young people have nothing to celebrate.

In the Northern Cape the family of Thabang Van Staden is mourning the death of their son, a 26-year-old young man who committed suicide live on TikTok. Thabang had given up on prospects of ever finding a job so that he could provide for his mother and his sister.

Thabang was failed by the ANC government led by President Ramaphosa. The ANC is killing us – without a job, young people don’t have dignity.

How many Thabangs are out there?

Young graduates are stripped of their dignity and forced to stand at traffic intersections, looking for jobs. Our sisters can’t afford to buy sanitary towels – prices are skyrocketing. In many communities young people are forced to exchange sex for jobs. Where is their dignity?

Without a job, young people don’t have dignity. Isidima somntu ngamnye sisekubeni akwazi ukuzimela.

This Youth Day we need to wage a strong fight against the uncaring ANC government. We need to put up a strong fight and help restore the dignity of young people.

On Monday we lost a young activist who also happens to be a friend of mine, Lutho ‘Jett’ Sokudela. He, like many other young South Africans, fought tirelessly every single day for a life of dignity. He fought for the plight of young people – every opportunity he got.

Over the last few months, we have seen young people like you at the forefront of bringing change here in Gauteng by removing ANC criminal mayors and bringing in mayors that get things done. From Tshwane, to Ekurhuleni, and here in the City of Johannesburg.

In 2021, with the power of their votes – young people refused to normalise the jobs crisis. Young people took a stand against the rising crime and young people rejected poor service delivery. For that I thank you – but asikaqali, asikagqibi.

We all need to keep firing the spirit of Hector Peterson and Japie Vilankulu.

Almost one in every two young people in the labour force doesn’t have a job – millions of young South Africans are locked out of opportunities while ANC fat cats live large!

Siphi isidima sabantu abatsha? Why must Thabang Van Staden and many others commit suicide because they’ve given up on opportunities while ANC Ministers blow R1.4 billion on parties, dinners and hotels during lockdown?

Today we are here to say we have identified our struggle as a generation, a struggle that killed Thabang. Our biggest struggle as a generation is unemployment,. We do not have couches stashed with millions of dollars – we need jobs to buy bread and milk, we need jobs to keep up with the rising cost of living, and we need jobs to build a secure future.

Young people are sick and tired of empty, broken promises from the National Government – year after year, it is the same empty rhetoric.

To foster job creation, and create opportunities National Government must:

  • Establish Youth Works opportunity centres and Innovation Hubs across the country to service jobseekers, small businesses, and youth entrepreneurs; and
  • Implement tax incentives for small businesses to encourage employment.

To achieve this our demand is backed by simple and implementable steps. National Government must immediately scrap the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) – a R500 million ANC slush fund. For half a billion rand the NYDA employs ANC cadres in high-paying jobs but creates no real jobs and opportunities for unemployed young South Africans at large.

The NYDA does nothing for young people in rural communities, it does nothing unskilled young people to developmental programmes that will help grow their potential. Instead, NYDA board members are paid an average of R500 000 annually to attend ten board meetings per year. Imagine what that could do for small businesses?

Let’s replace this R500 million ANC slush fund, with a R500 million Youth Job Creation Plan.

National Government must furthermore:

  • Restructure the Department of Small Business Development to include functions of employment and the youth;
  • Scrap the race-based job-killing legislation that discourages investors like BEE and NHI;
  • Cut red tape to allow for the formalisation of informal businesses and to make it easier to do business – let’s make life better for small scale farmers ezilalini and those who are setting up startups in urban areas;
  • End Cadre Deployment, which reserves jobs in the public sector for ANC cadres and excludes skilled young people from competing for jobs on an equal footing; and
  • Privatise failed state-owned enterprises and expand the role of the private sector in the economy, thereby empowering young people to set up new businesses and find gainful employment in a growing private sector.

I’m proud to stand here today and say that as the DA Youth we don’t just talk, but we get things done!

The DA-run Western Cape does not have a board of high-paid political appointments to create youth jobs and opportunities, it just gets on with doing the job. It also does not practice cadre deployment, which means that talented and skilled graduates have the opportunity to enter public service.

The DA-run Western Cape still has the lowest unemployment rate in South African, and creates the most jobs. The province’s red tape reduction unit has been the forerunner in the country when it comes to making it easier for small business owners to do business.

Addressing the youth unemployment crisis requires bold leadership with practical solutions – this cannot be achieved by the NYDA and the current ‘Poverty Cabinet.’

This Youth Day, we are making a commitment as the DA Youth that we will be at the forefront in councils, legislatures, and Parliament we will persuade public representatives to submit motions and Bills that address the unemployment crisis.

Fighting unemployment is a struggle that affects all of us – young people from all walks of life.

The 1976 generation thought us that when the youth works, South Africa works.

To the young person who has given up on a life with dignity, sithi we are here.

When they speak about the past, we will show them the future,

When they want to divide us, we will proudly embrace our diversity and show them our unity,

Let us restore the dignity of young people through jobs and opportunities.

Amandla, ngawethu!