The youth were Johannesburg’s greatest asset and a critical part of the future, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks said in Alexandra, in Region E, on Wednesday June 15, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the June 16 1976 Soweto student uprising.
Speaking to scores of young people at the San Kopano Community Centre during a tour of the region by the City’s leadership under the Bua Le Sechaba campaign, Mayor Tau said it was important to acknowledge the key role the youth had played in shaping South Africa.
“The reality is that generations of youth in this country have been at the forefront of a complex liberation struggle. Youth leaders such as Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and others have changed the political discourse, contributing immensely to our freedom,” he said, adding that today’s youth remained “front and centre” of efforts to build South Africa.
“We are a youthful society. The City of Johannesburg recognises that the youth are our greatest asset and a critical part of our future development. The youth have the capacity, energy and enthusiasm that we should embrace to develop South Africa. We should derive demographic dividends from being a youthful society. That is why youth programmes such as Vulindlel' eJozi are our focal point,” the Mayor said.
“Our responsibility is to prepare you for the job market.”
The Mayor said the City had also partnered with the Gauteng Provincial Government and Wits University on a Matric rewrite and completion programme. The web-based programme would help young people acquire matric certificates, which would help them to access skills training programmes.
He also encouraged them to explore educational opportunities through the Massive Open Online Varsity (MOOV) and the SAP-Africa skills programme, from which 30 unemployed graduates have already benefited. Cllr Tau urged them to register for the Vulindlel’ eJozi, a youth employment and empowerment programme that has already attracted 160 000 young people.
“The City is offering you this comprehensive combo of opportunities because youth development is our priority,” Cllr Tau said.
Nhlanhla Mchunu, 18, a college student and founder of the Cognitive Development Project, appealed to the Mayor for help her with books and computers for her initiative. She already runs several programmes for children in the area and is eager to do more.
Member for the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Chris Vondo said he would attend to her request.