We’ve celebrated 20 years since the fall of the apartheid government. And now, with the 2014 elections over, we finally get a break from , adventurous politicians formulating “masterful” strategies to sway voters. From Helen Zille speaking Xhosa, to Jacob Zuma dancing steadfastly to “Inde’lendlela” all the way down to Julius Malema and the Louis Vuitton shoes meant to “inspire” the youth. After of all the hype, however, there remains one question that needs to be answered, “where to from here?”
With the elections predominantly focused on the youth, youth unemployment has in recent years emerged as a key issue that needs quick intervention. Therefore we can anticipate that the African National Congress (ANC) is ready to tackle some of the issues regarding youth empowerment.
The ANC managed to win 62.15% of the votes at this years elections, meaning they obtain 249 seats in parliament and another five years to serve the nation. After all the criticism ANC received over Nkandlagate (as it is called now), E-tolls and various corruption controversies, they have a crucial job to do in order to regain the youth’s trust as they are the party that will be leading us forward. In their 2014 manifesto, the ANC promised some drastic economic changes and a bright future with six million jobs (for the youth) over the next five years. That’s quite a lot, isn’t? Through the youth wage subsidy, they plan to introduce the youth into the economy and give them the platform and opportunity to be able to attain the skills that will sustain them in the future. Although one can argue that ANC has been promising jobs to the youth for the last five years without any concrete results, it’s no doubt that ANC is putting in a strong effort to win their trust.
The ruling party has also promised to pay attention to those who are often marginalized in the rural areas, offering them a skills development and youth employment programme which results in a two year work contract for rural youth within rural areas, as part of the National Youth Service.
The ANC has demonstrated that young people are the #VIP (see what I did there?) with the huge focus they have placed in implementing youth development policy.According to their manifesto, more than 250 000 jobs will be created and sustained through construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure and manufacture of local components, with 60% of jobs in new infrastructure projects set aside for youth.The emphasis of the policy is not only about job development, but also education improvement, as it is a basic need for overall development.
The next step the ANC will take is building 1 000 schools to expand education access for young people in different provinces and improve the quality of education by increasing the number of universities and FET colleges across the country. Though its yet to be seen if it will be at the expense of the arts and culture industry, the ANC plans to improve colleges that will specialise in the improvement of Mathematics and Science education.
The next big step the ANC should take in order to regain trust from its citizen is introducing transparency in their work, and increasing accountability to its citizen, by reading and responding to their letters, emails and messages, also offering apologies for the mistakes that occur.There is still a long way to go for South Africa to become an economic powerhouse, hence all the promises ANC stated must manifest into reality.
Turning those economic policies and promises to reality will be a massive challenge for ANC, as they need a huge budget and most importantly need to honour their commitment to citizens. As the South African youth, the ruling party is yet to take us to the promised land.
Regardless of the ANC’s promises to improve the life of youngsters, it is also vital for the young people to take initiative in creating opportunities for themselves, instead of waiting for the government. Let us stand up and grab whatever we want for ourselves to have a better life.
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