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Cape Town – Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Performance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration Jeff Radebe, says the National Youth Policy 2020 will address challenges such as unemployment and the Aids epidemic that are facing young people today.

The Minister said this when signing the finalised youth policy at the Inkwenkwezi Further Education and Training Local Youth Office in Khayelithsa, in the Western Cape, on Wednesday.

The signing of the policy coincided with the commemoration of International Youth Day, a day when all governments around the world drew their attention to youth issues.

The Minister said despite being better educated than before, they were faced with a heap of challenges – from increased insecurity from the labour market to challenges of prevalence of HIV and Aids, amongst others.

“It is because of all these challenges that the National Youth Policy 2020 aims at dealing with these priority issues that impact negatively on our young people’s ability to participate in spheres of our society and to attain their ultimate potential.

“This policy builds on the previous policy and lessons learnt from various youth interventions over the last five years.

“This policy also aims at integrating youth development into government policies, programmes but more especially into the national budget enabling tighter coordination and local of youth development at the centre of their development,” the Minister said.

He said according to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), today’s young generation experiences … social gaps and faces multiple challenges.

Minister Radebe said those who have the opportunity to go to school are forced to study longer and longer as job opportunities become scarce.

He said the policy will strengthen the capability of key youth development institutions and the culture of patriotic citizenry.

After the National Youth Policy draft 2020 was approved by Cabinet late last year, the Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, who is also responsible for youth matters, launched the consultative process in January this year.

His consultative process took him nationwide to schools, shebeens, taxi ranks, bus stations and workplaces, amongst other places.

The Deputy Minister said he received over 100 written submissions on the NYP 2020 from varied youth voices across the country.

“Overwhelmingly young people told us that they want a hand up and not a hand out. They told us that they do not want to be passive recipients of government interventions.

“But rather, they are ready to be active partners in youth development.

“They are not looking for special favours from government. But instead, they want government to create that enabling environment which creates opportunity for them to grab and take hold off as they steer themselves down the development trajectory,” he said.

Yershen Pillay, the chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), welcomed the signing of the policy.

“As the NYDA, we view the signing of the new National Youth Policy 2020 as an important step in consolidating the gains we have made in the past 21 years of democracy, but importantly as a key milestone in taking forward the development of young people jointly with social partners.

“We take this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to Minister Jeff Radebe and Deputy Minister Buti Manamela for providing direction and clarity of purpose in not only ensuring that we have a new, more relevant and comprehensive National Youth Policy but for also ensuring a swift and clinical consultative process,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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