The South African Youth Council (SAYC) Chris Hani region wants to develop a youth development strategy that would enable them to monitor local government performance and hold it accountable in matters related to developing young people.
This was one of the resolutions taken during the regional SAYC district youth summit preparatory session held at the Thobi Kula Indoor Sport Centre on Saturday.
Young people from all six municipalities under Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) participated in the event that had them breaking into commissions, debating issues affecting them and what needed to be done.
SAYC regional co-ordinator, Sakile Mvana, said the actual summit would be held before the end of the year, and that they were stalling because the CHDM indicated their interest to be part of the programme from its planning stages.
“The CHDM approached us indicating they liked our idea and wanted to be part of it from inception because they are aware of its significance. We have been engaging with the municipality to develop a youth development plan which would be tailor-made for young people in this area. It will be informed by the existing national youth plan that guides how government ought to relate to the youth regarding their development. The national plan is cascaded down to provinces, and we want to do the same in our district.”
Mvana said as SAYC they felt a need for the plan because it would assist in getting government in this area to commit itself to the development of the youth.
“After it has committed itself we would be able to monitor its progress and performance. Its absence puts us in a position where we cannot hold them accountable. With some officials in CHDM as a whole, you would find that people react to professional matters related to SAYC with their feelings when there had been a disagreement of some sort.”
He said that the national youth plan was under the office of the presidency, and the provincial one under the office of the premier, but that in the district they would find themselves dealing with the special programmes unit (SPU) and the next pulled to the mayor’s office.
“The preparatory session was for us as young people to consolidate our views so that when the actual summit is held we go there with one view and mandate. We did not want to make decisions for the youth in their absence, we wanted them to come together and discuss their issues and what needs to be done to mitigate them,” said the co-ordinator.
The youth focused on general issues that affect them like unemployment, skills training, education, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) development, sports, arts and culture.
They reflected on matters that previously existed that would assist the youth today like the setting aside of R5m for youth-owned enterprises by the CHDM.
“We also noted the emerging mining opportunities in the district; we resolved to engage government to have a mining academy or institution to equip young people to exploit the opportunities.
“We have a team that plays in the SAB Motsepe League called Amavarara. The team could create opportunities for the youth that could remove them from drug and alcohol abuse by participating in the sport. It has a potential to create economic opportunities by driving local tourism. We need to encourage the municipality to invest in the development and support of Amavarara.”
The youth also wants to champion a district youth skills audit so there would be a database detailing what skills and qualifications young people had in the district and align it with existing upcoming opportunities.