President Jacob Zuma holds Presidential Youth Working Group meeting in Pretoria, 2 Jun

President Jacob Zuma will tomorrow, 2 June 2017, kick-start National Youth Month with a meeting of the Presidential Youth Working Group at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

The Presidential Youth Working Group brings together government and youth organisations, to promote youth participation in governance and policy making.

President Zuma chairs the Working Group, supported by Deputy Ministers led by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Mr Buti Manamela. The meeting will take stock of the matters raised by young people and propose further actions. A number of achievements have emanated from the continuous outputs of the work streams, including the five pillars of the National Youth Policy 2015-2020 as proposed by young people.

The achievements of government relating to youth development include the following:

The War on Leaks programme of the Department of Water and Sanitation through which government is training thousands of young people as water agents, electricians, plumbers, machinists and in other fields.

The National Youth Development Agency is directing more resources towards young aspirant entrepreneurs. More than eight hundred new enterprises will be created and a further eighteen thousand young people will receive the necessary support in order to succeed as entrepreneurs.

Through the Department of Human Settlements, over five hundred host employers in the Real Estate Sector will absorb over eight thousand unemployed youth and graduates to take up opportunities in real estate.

Through the Department of Health and civil society organisations, the DREAMS Campaign will help grow girls and young women that are determined, resilient, empowered, AIDS-free, mentored, and safe.

The National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) Programme run by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has recruited about nineteen thousand young people. The programme targets rural, unemployed young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in possession of a Grade 12 qualification.

Government spends the highest share of its budget on young people through education and skills development. Government paid the fee increase capped at eight percent for all qualifying registered students with a gross combined family income up to six hundred thousand rand per annum for the 2017 academic year.

This is a grant which covers the increases for tuition fees and official accommodation, and will not have to be repaid by qualifying students. Government also made arrangements through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to pay the registration fees for all NSFAS funded students as an upfront payment to universities and TVET colleges in January each year.

NSFAS qualifying students did not pay any registration or upfront fees in 2017.

The Working Group meeting will also discuss some of the challenges facing young people with regards to violence against women and children as well as consider ways of ensuring meaningful economic participation by the youth in the radical economic transformation of the country.

The importance of youth has been recognised by government nationally and continentally as the AU declared the 2017 theme Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth and South Africa is also this month commemorating Youth Month under the theme: The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment.

Source: Government of South Africa

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