Pretoria – Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has called on the youth to make use of the many opportunities that government has made available to them.
“Government’s priority is to provide economic opportunities for the youth. You are living in a country where you can dream big, and big dreams can lead to big success. Ours as government is to stimulate the economy by creating an enabling environment through legislation, policies and government programmes,” the Deputy Minister said on Saturday.
Addressing the Ekurhuleni Annual Youth Lecture at the Germiston Civic Centre, Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams called on the youth to be like the 1976 generation, which was self-assured.
The Youth Lecture was organised by the Ekurhuleni municipality.
Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams told the youth that there are opportunities for ambitious and hardworking young people. She told youth to look into entrepreneurial opportunities so they can create jobs for others.
As part of the lecture, Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said youth must take their studies seriously and be active participants in the economy.
“Government is committed to ensuring quality and affordable education for all. Since 1994, we have made education a priority. From school level through to the workplace, government has put in place various measures to make us a learning and thriving nation,” she said.
Funding is made available through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which now stands at R14.582 billion. If you are not informed, you cannot make informed decisions. You have to be hungry for knowledge,” she said.
She warned young people against the use of drugs, saying many young people’s lives were destroyed by substance abuse.
“Drug addiction can be beaten and government appeals to drug users to seek help today. We urge parents and community structures to play a role in raising awareness and to provide support to those affected,” she said.
Shadrack Mnisi, 24, from Duduza in Ekurhuleni, attended the lecture. He told SAnews that he now feels empowered and is thinking of starting his own business. Mnisi completed his matric in 2011 and has been unemployed since.
“The Deputy Minister told us about the opportunities available for young people who want to start their own businesses. I’m thinking of starting my own business,” he said.
Mnisi commended the bravery of the 1976 youth. “They knew what they wanted to achieve. Today we are enjoying democracy because of their sacrifices.”
On 16 June 1976, thousands of learners took to the streets of Soweto and revolted against Bantu education. The police responded by using live ammunition and scores of learners were killed.