Statement by Premier Winde on Youth Day
Today, as we celebrate Youth Day, we must remember the past and pay tribute to those young people who stood up, and paved the way for the young people of today. But it is also about looking at the future for young people and finding ways to make that future more fair and more just.
Government, civil society, NGOs, the private sector and individuals all have a roll to play in shaping this future for our young people and it is important that young people have a say in how they want this future to look.
This month, the first ever Western Cape Children's Commissioner, Christina Nomdo took office. She is tasked with advocating for the rights of children in this province and making sure that they are part of the conversation when it comes to things that impact them. This morning, we held a joint Facebook Q and A, in which she posed some very serious questions to me from some of the child government monitors she is working with. The questions focused on my work as Premier, their concerns about returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic and issues of safety and gender based violence. That Q and A can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/windealan/videos/289325925529048/
Last year, thousands of people took to the streets to protest a spate of heinous killings of women and children. Today, as we commemorate Youth Day, the country is also in mourning for many more young women whose lives have been brutally and tragically cut short, in many cases by their partners- young men who were supposed to love and support them.
This is not the future that the young people of 1976 were fighting for, and every single one of us needs to be fighting right now to ensure that this is not what the future holds for other young people.
The Western Cape Government launched its safety plan last year with the aim of reducing the murder rate and making our communities safer places to live. The plan will put boots on the ground and has included safety in each of our government's departments plans.
Many of our departments also run programmes aimed at giving youth safe spaces and opportunities. As we work to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing humanitarian need created by the lockdown, we have also worked to ensure that children are fed and are safely able to learn.
Some of our youth interventions include:
-The Department of Social Development funds 53 NPO child care centres in the province.
-DSD also runs a range of programmes and services for children showing signs of risky behaviour, which include safety and risk assessment services; therapeutic and psychosocial services; temporary safe care programmes; adolescent development programmes.
-We have programmes for children with behavioural, psychological and emotional challenges; transitional care and support programmes for children about to exit alternative care; and programmes for children living on the streets.
-Statutory services including foster care programmes and adoption programmes.
-Programmes aimed at reunifying children, who have been placed in alternative care, with their families or communities.
-The Department of Community Safety offers social crime prevention and life skills training for young people from disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape through the Chrysalis Academy.
-Under the Western Cape Safety Plan, Chrysalis will be expanded and the Minister of Economic Opportunities is working to find paid work placements for its graduates.
-Sixty Chrysalis graduates have just been deployed in Khayelitsha to help reduce COVID-19 infections by encouraging social distancing, hand washing and hygiene at shopping malls and healthcare facilities.
-The Departments of Cultural Affairs and Sport's Youth in Service programme gives young people meaningful work experience, which allows them to build their CV while giving back to the community. A total of 399 young people are currently part of the programme which teaches them both soft and hard skills. Feedback from alumni indicates that 80% said that the programme has prepared them for the world of work and 82% have gone on to study or work after completing the programme. We are also heartened that 47% of alumni continue to actively volunteer in their communities after completing the programme.
-The Department of Education's emergency feeding scheme, which started under the level 5 lockdown served over a million meals to learners who could not access the school nutrition programme. The Department has also worked hard to prepare schools for learners' return, investing in cleaning materials, masks and thermometers for screening. They have also made online learning resources available, and alternative learning arrangements for children who cannot return to school.
-The Department of Agriculture has spent R53.7 million on programmes targeting the youth over the past five years, creating 993 bursaries, internships and other opportunities for young people.
-21 contractors with youth representation are currently working on projects across the province for the Department of Human Settlements. Many of these contractors are also creating job opportunities for other young people.
-The Department of Human Settlements has also provided accredited artisan training for 181 young people in the 2019/20 financial year. They have been placed at various projects across the Western Cape.
-Between 1 June 2019 and May 2020, 273 youth applicants have been assisted through the FLISP subsidy which assists first time home buyers.
This Youth Day will be different to previous years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the celebrations and the events benefiting young children will not go ahead but I would like to encourage individuals, communities and businesses who are able to, to support organisations caring for our young people. And I would like to encourage our young people to use their voices for change. Whether it be by helping in their communities, by joining youth movements or simply by speaking out against gender based violence, it is important that you are an active participant in shaping the future you want for yourself.