Never before has the future prospects of young people been in sharp focus in the country than it is in this election year.
And young people are in the cusp of history to take charge of their destiny. The dye has been cast as President Cyril Ramaposa delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA 2019) last week.
Below is a sample of what young South Africans took away from the President’s address.
Roxanne Motha – North Riding Johannesburg
“From a youth perspective what came out clear from SONA 2019 is that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his team understand that the country cannot move forward to a knowledge based industrial economy without good education that is technology driven.”
Keaton Harris- Medical Student at Stellenbosch University
“As South Africans we must continue to support those suffering from mental illnesses so that we as a collective can break the stigma. If this support comes from a political figure of his stature, I am hoping that it will resonate with our youth and help them to never give up in the pursuit of their dreams.”
Sikhumbuzo Twala – KaNyamazane
A key point that resonated with me is the President’s stance in honouring the memory of the leaners who lost their lives due to accidents that occurred in pit latrines. It is a tragedy of great proportions that in this day and age, we still have schools that use such backward facilities. The President grabbed the bull by the horns by acknowledging survey findings that some 4,000 schools still lack basic sanitation facilities.
Abigail Masondo – artist and youth activist from Durban
“The latest statistics shows that South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world. StatsSA places it at 38,2% for those aged between 15 and 34. This is a ticking time bomb for the country as such a desperate situation could lead to social strife. I am happy that the President spent considerable time addressing the issue of youth unemployment and the various initiatives such as YES and Thiso 1 million that have been put in place to address youth unemployment. We all have a role to play to bring to fruition the goals of the Job Summit when the President indicated that South Africa aimed to create 13 million new jobs by 2030.
Mthelisi Dlamini – Protea Glen Soweto
“We are in the throes of the 4th Industrial Revolution which requires that we embrace technology and innovation in the way we live, work and play. The President touched on this important matter and it is up to business and other social partners to join hands with government to create opportunities for young people to be future-ready for the new world that is beckoning.
Vukile Mchunu- Entrepreneur and TYI Top 100 SADC 2018 winner
“I hope the government will come through on the promise made that more focus would be on youth and how a platform will be strengthened for the youth to exercise their leadership skills. The President made the correct noises about how they will continue to help young entrepreneurs in our country.
Siphiwe Nkosi – Student in Cradock Eastern Cape
“Crime seems to be getting worse and more violent in our country. I am happy that President Ramaphosa said the SAPS has embarked on a restructuring process to shift more policing resources to the local level. I want harsher sentences for criminals. I want safer schools, safer malls and safer streets.”
Daniel Boya- Journalist from Johannesburg
“The pressing issues are youth unemployment and the issue of free higher education. Many graduates are being exploited and unpaid. The government declared free tertiary education but we still have students protesting for lack of finding, why is that happing. Those are the two issues that I would like the government to follow-up strongly on.”
Taren Pillay – Student in Pietermaritzburg
“It is 25 years into democracy for South Africa, but we are still dealing with painful effects of the past, such as racism and inequality. We need to support each other and come up with practical solutions and lead us to real progress as South Africans.”
Thandiswa Mokoena – Social activist from Rustenburg
“ Eishkom. I want the President to open up the debate on the posture that government is taking on Eskom. This is the most important State entity as it is the heart of turning the wheels of the economy. Everything depends on reliable electricity supply.”