Issues affecting young people and the performance of the South African economy will be at the forefront of burning issues to be addressed during the tabling of the state of the nation address (Sona) in parliament, Cape Town, on Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
“We will be obviously addressing the issue of young people quite extensively in the address because it is a burning platform and that is not the only burning platform, the performance of our economy is another issue that we need to address,” he told a dialogue with youth on Wednesday evening.
“So the many issues that you have raised, creating jobs for young people, business opportunities for young people and all those other things, including education for young people, are matters that we are indeed going to be focusing attention on,” he said.
Ramaphosa addressed about 200 young people from various sectors and formations during a presidential youth dialogue in Parliament, Cape Town, on Wednesday evening. Organised by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the dialogue, under the theme “25 years of democracy, celebrating youth activism,” provided a platform for young people to engage firsthand with Ramaphosa ahead of his Sona.
“But we will be doing it in a way of galvanising the entire South African nation to rally around those challenges so that we can have them addressed and resolved. Our journey is still quite long, we have come from a journey of 25 years and in the 25 years we have achieved a great deal and young people are at the centre of much of what we have achieved,” said the president.
He said some of the issues that were critical to the South African nation were correcting the imbalances of the past in order to build a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and democratic country.
“Those are the four issues that are our nation’s mission. We want to rid our country of sexism, it’s never ever going to be a one-day affair, it’s never going to be a 25-year agenda. It’s almost a lifelong type of agenda where we will have to continuously say we want to rid this country of sexism, racism, we want to have prosperity in our country and we should never say we will rest on trying to have prosperity in our country.
“Similarly, on issues where the ravages of oppression and inequality still exist. We can never say it is enough, we did it for 25 years, even if it’s still there, let us now stop because we have done it for 25 years. Inequality, racism, sexism, are processes that we need to eradicate from the face of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
The president further added that the government would continue with affirming those who were still negatively affected by inequality and that South Africa was the most unequal country in the world.
“The Gini-coefficient of our country is the highest in the whole world and our constitution declares that we need to ensure that we embark on programmes that are going to bring about equality for the people of South Africa. And those programmes are multi-faceted and we need to continue engaging in those programmes.”
Speaking on the issue of land, Ramaphosa said it was a matter that that was being addressed through the ministry of human settlement, water and sanitation.
“There is a constitutional provision that gives provincial government the right to participate including local government to some extent. We want to be able to work together in a cooperative way with the government. Housing is one of those issues that are in short supply in our country and as government, that’s precisely what we want to be addressing,” said Ramaphosa.
– African News Agency