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SA News | 21 May 2024

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has called on all South Africans to support the newly launched National Youth Service (NYS) initiative, which aims to address youth unemployment in South Africa.

The Deputy President, together with the Department of Defence and the Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD), unveiled the South African National Service Institution (SANSI) in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The Deputy President said the South African National Defence Force (SANDF)-led NYS is a special project that will be piloted and implemented in the country’s poorest districts, where most youngsters are unemployed. 

Despite interventions such as the Presidential Employment Stimulus, which has created over 1.7 million job opportunities, the country’s second-in-command bemoaned that many young people remain on the margins of real economic participation. 

He cited the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which shows that the official unemployment rate stands at 32.9%. 

According to the survey, about 3.6 million (35.5%) out of 10.3 million young people aged between 15 and 24 were not in employment, education or training (NEET).

“I am pleased that the DWYPD, in collaboration with the Department of Defence, adopted a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to the skills revolution for the unskilled. This will have a significant impact on restoring livelihoods, creating wealth, and alleviating poverty and hunger among the marginalised.”

According to the Deputy President, the initiative aims to optimise government resources by spearheading impactful projects that assist the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. 

“We envisaged inviting and encouraging young people to voluntarily join the National Youth Service, beginning with a character-building programme and progressing to industry demand-based education and training, ultimately leading to gainful employment or entrepreneurship.” 

The establishment of SANSI aims to develop, capacitate, and empower young unemployed Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and university graduates through a purposeful and smooth skills-to-industry pipeline that will lead to innovative entrepreneurship and long-term, sustainable employment. 

The initiative also intends to transform youngsters into courageous agents of change, who will tackle the country’s most pressing issues in strategic work streams. 

These include food and agricultural value chain commercialisation, maritime and ocean economy, engineering and construction, manufacturing and infrastructure rollouts, as well as skills of the future, which include digital technologies and electronics.

The initiative, Mashatile stated, represents a massive investment in the effort to get young people trained and capacitated to participate in the economy.

He views the move as a significant milestone in the country’s journey towards a stronger and more resilient society. 

In addition, he said the initiative would serve as a hub for nurturing leadership, fostering skills development, and promoting community engagement. 

“It will empower our young people to contribute meaningfully to the development of our country and the wellbeing of our communities,” he stressed. 

The Deputy President announced that the provincial launches are still to follow, with the project aiming to reach at least 100 000 youth participants in the current fiscal year. 

He urged all young individuals who meet the eligibility requirements for the NYS to submit their applications in large numbers. 

“The youth must also take advantage of the opportunity presented by the programme to equip themselves with the much-needed skills.”

Minister of Defence Thandi Modise described SANSI as a necessary and important initiative and thanked the DWYPD Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for rallying her to see the bigger picture.

“It tallied with the call from all society that asked the Defence Force to do something and cries of mothers who had their hands on their heads and those who were trying to fight the nyaope. We see SANSI as that instrument in the hands of the Defence Force that will enable our children to come into their own,” said Modise. 

Shifting her focus to the young participants in SANSI, she emphasised that the SANDF will ensure their punctuality, obedience, ability to give and receive instructions, and leadership skills.

“The military will keep an eye on every little cent spent on this project and will go to the future of this country and the skills that we need,” Modise said.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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