Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.
Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Youth call for greater accountability on funds meant for upliftment

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Feb 18, 2021

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YOUNG people, who make up the bulk of the country's high unemployment statistics, need better assurances from the government that funds meant for their upliftment will be accounted for.

This was part of a string of suggestions a group of young people commented on during the Government Communications Information System's youth Imbizo yesterday. The event was held virtually and was meant to be an analysis of President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address which was presented a week ago.

Ramaphosa's speech made slight references to the youth and the need for creating employment opportunities. The country's unemployment rate sits at 30.8% and the president said he hoped as the economy recovers from Covid-19 lockdown closures, this rate will decrease.

The youth make up about 63.3% of unemployed persons, according to StatsSA.

Ramaphosa said through the National Youth Development Agency and the department of small business, 1000 young entrepreneurs have been assisted with grant and loan facilities.

The young people who were part of Thursday's dialogue said more accountability was needed from the government.

Allegro Dinkwanyane, a business owner for the past 10 years, said she had seen the personal benefits of entrepreneurship. She has encouraged a system of openness from the government on whether the system of accountability actually works.

"I think young people are willing to do anything at this point because there are simply not enough jobs. I see entrepreneurs as a solution to alleviating poverty. I have been an entrepreneur for 10 years since I was 21. The government should ensure that investment goes in the right hands, as a young entrepreneur I want to see money invested in the right businesses.

"That is the question we need to pose to our president. We need to hold our government accountable for ensuring they deliver on the promises," she said.

Her views were echoed by Dr Faith Makhubele, a young philanthropist, who said in most situations young people felt discouraged in contributing and listening to the Sona because of a lack of commitment to promises.

"You often hear phrases like young people are lazy and do not want to work. Young people are unemployed. Are these job opportunities existing? How do we stop the government from looting resources that could be assisting young people? What is the government doing to protect the system? R10 billion for small businesses, how many years have we been hearing that? When the government has been continuing to fail you then it is easy to lose hope," Makhubele said.

"Government, hold your people accountable and stop looting state funds."

The government's response to gender-based violence also took centre stage at the imbizo. Ramaphosa committed to fast-tracking legislation dealing with GBV during his Sona.

Makhubele said GBV was a systematic issue and the views shared by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga were not helping in a broader discussion on GBV issues.

Motshekga was speaking at a Pretoria school on Monday, where she commented to the learners suggesting a possible link between men who rape and and education.

Makhubele said GBV was about the unlearning of the patriarchal teachings of society which enable a cycle of abuse to continue.

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