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IN QUOTES | 'What will you do for this country?' — Ramaphosa calls on youth to take a stand

17 June 2021 - 11:00 By cebelihle bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday lamented the country's dismally high youth unemployment rate.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday lamented the country's dismally high youth unemployment rate.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on young people to take responsibility for their future and the future of the country, like the youth of 1976 did.

Ramaphosa delivered a youth day commemoration speech from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday. 

He said rather than just asking what the government is doing to better the lives of youth, young people must ask themselves what they can do for the development of the country.

Here are six quotes from his address: 

1,200 youth-owned enterprises have received government support through the national youth development agency

“Around 1,800 people have been given jobs in a number of public works projects including the rural bridges programme. With funding from the stimulus, 1,200 youth-owned microenterprises have received support from the national youth development agency.”

Teaching assistants 

“320,000 young people have been placed as education assistants and general assistants in 24,000 public schools across the country. Of these, 65% are young women.

“They are working with our learners and are lightening the load of our educators. Our teachers and principals are telling us that this programme is making a big difference in our schools. Many of the participants were unemployed before this opportunity.”

Youth must take a stand 

“Young men and women of SA, your country needs you. As you correctly asked, 'what will our government do for us? What will our country do for us?' Today, I would like you to ask yourself 'what will you do for this country as young people?' We need you to rise and demonstrate that a better life for all is indeed within our reach.” 

Youth should be a driving force of change 

“We need to work together against social ills like gender-based violence, gangsterism and substance abuse that are ravaging our people in our communities. We must say no to the violence against members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Homophobia-fuelled violence has no place in our society and SA.”

The launch of mPowa

“It aims to provide young work-seekers and entrepreneurs with information about services and support available in their area. This platform builds on the success of the Youth Explorer, which has gathered and verified data on the services available to young people across the country.”

Youth at the centre of national recovery

“Young people are the force that drives a country and grows its economy. Young people are a source of innovation and new ideas. Young people have energy and talent. Young people are resilient and never give up, even when it is difficult.

“Right now, our economy is suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. A situation that was already bad, has got worse. We are putting young people at the centre of our national recovery.”