by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphoa has challenged youths in South Africa to be at the forefront of the fight against unemployment and the coronavirus (COVID-19).
His message came ahead of Youth Day, celebrated yearly on June 16.
Ramaphosa said youth unemployment was the greatest challenge faced by government and the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated an already dire situation.
“Now more than ever we will look to the innovative and pioneering spirit of our youth to come up with solutions to the unemployment crisis that benefit them, their communities and society,” he wrote.
He added, “At the same time, I challenge our country’s youth to craft and design programmes that will enable us to meet our developmental goals.”
Ramaphosa said South Africa’s young people must develop social upliftment initiatives and must lead them.
He highlighted Youth Day celebrated how youth took up the struggle for equality in higher education in 1976.
“The considerable energies of our youth must also be brought to bear to fight for equitable access to health care, for the transformation of land ownership and, most importantly, for gender justice.”
The president said he was deeply disturbed by a surge over the last few days in the murder of young women at the hands of men.
“These are shocking acts of inhumanity that have no place in our society,” he said.
Ramaphosa added youth-led civic activism, awareness raising and peer counselling were vital tools in efforts to eradicate gender-based violence from society.
“At the same time, we must strengthen our justice system, ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book, bail and parole conditions are tightened and that those sentenced to life spend the rest of their lives behind bars.”
He thus urged young men in particular to take up the struggle against gender-based violence.
“Unless we end the war that is being waged against South African women, the dream of a new society will remain elusive,” he said.
He said despite challenges, South African youth of 2020 more than met the high standard set by their predecessors.
“They are optimistic, resilient and courageous, often in the face of the harshest of circumstances,” Ramaphosa said.
– CAJ News