June 16 will always be remembered for the heroic role that young people played in the struggle against apartheid, and it is for this reason that Parliament has set aside the month of June to honour the memory of thousands of young people who took to the streets of Soweto and across many parts of the country to oppose the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction and the shameful Bantu education system.
In 2010 Parliament launched the Bokamoso Ba Rona (Our Future) Youth Campaign to encourage young people between the ages of 12 and 25 to adopt “a common vision of their future” and address some of the socio-economic challenges facing our country.
In celebrating Youth Month Parliament will host a series of debates with young people and address a number of important issues under the banner of the following themes:
• Education and learning: Promoting access to quality education and skills, both in school and for out of school youth through second-chance interventions for school dropouts and school to work programmes, and improving access to finance for further education and training.
• Economic freedom in our lifetime: Providing support to business and social enterprises that promote job placement, self-employment and income-generating activities for youth.
• Eradicating youth unemployment: Providing young people with meaningful and accredited skills that equip them with skills required for the job market.
However, following protests by the Democratic Alliance’s youth wing over remarks allegedly made by Parliament’s deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nomaindia Mfeketo against the implementation of a youth wage subsidy, this year’s youth parliament appears to have ended without the adoption of a concrete set of resolutions and a signed declaration of intent.
In response, Parliament has issued a communiqué expressing concern over the inability of Youth Parliament to conclude its matters.
As Numsa News goes to print, there is still no clear indication about the exact outcomes of the Youth Parliament.