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City has prioritised youth empowerment Print E-mail
19 June 2017

The City of Johannesburg has called on today’s youth to play a leading role in steering South Africa’s political and economic discourse.

Speaking during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hector Pietersen Memorial in Orlando West, Soweto, to mark the 41st anniversary of the June 16 1976 Soweto uprising on Youth Day on Friday, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba said it had been demonstrated that in instances where young people actively participated, real change was realised.

The service was attended by, among others, the City’s Speaker of Council Cllr Vasco da Gama, Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture Faith Mazibuko, MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, MEC for Transport Ismail Vadi, MEC for Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, members of the June 16 1976 Foundation led by Dan Montsitsi and families of the victims of that fateful day such as Pietersen, Poppy Buthelezi and Mbuyiseni Makhubu.

“The Soweto 1976 uprising will forever be remembered in history as the time when young people said enough was enough and took a leading role in bringing the apartheid government to its knees,” Cllr Sifumba said.

She said the City was aware that the majority of the people living in Johannesburg were under the age of 35 and that youth unemployment was at a staggering 50%.

“Our activities and programmes are reflective of that fact. We’re playing a very important role in youth empowerment. We believe that the best way to empower our youth is to link them to skills development and real employment opportunities,” she said.

MMC Sifumba said for the City to create employment opportunities and make a significant dent on the high unemployment rate, it needed to grow the economy by a minimum 5% by 2021. “This we will do by creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive,” she said.

She said the City’s Economic Development Department was planning to increase the number of SME hubs in the City from seven to 14. “The goal is to have two SME hubs in all the City’s seven regions. By June 2018 we expect the economic hubs to support 1 250 small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMES) per month and ultimately 2 000 per month by 2021,” she said.

She said over the next few months the department would train 100 entrepreneurs in the manufacturing, export and artisan sectors. Cllr Sifumba also said the City’s 10 departments were actively taking part in improving the lives of the youth.

She said access to quality education was one of the best ways to reduce poverty in the long term.
“The department of health and social development is investing R10-million in the construction of an early childhood development centre that will train practitioners in that field,” she said.

Cllr Sifumba said the City was consulting other stakeholders to formulate a comprehensive drug-fighting strategy. “Unemployment and poverty are responsible for the scourge of drugs and substance abuse,” she said.
The MMC added that failure to decisively deal with the problem would see thousands of our youth going to waste, instead of contributing to the building of the economy.

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Last Updated on 19 June 2017