Welcome Remarks by DM Mfeketo, at the DIRCO engagement with the Delegates of the 2016 SAIIA Young Leaders Conference, 30 June 2016

Programme Director,
Ms Maureen Nkandu, Director of the United Nations Information Centre,
Ms Desiree Kosciulek Coordinator of the SAIIA Young Leaders Conference
Officials from SAIIA,
Delegates from the SAIIA 2016 Young Leaders Conference
Fellow colleagues from (DIRCO)
Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to DIRCO and this first engagement with the SAIIA Young Leaders Programme. When the proposal to allow delegates from this Conference was made, DIRCO welcomed the opportunity to engage with young leaders like yourselves, as you represent not only South Africa but also the future of this country.

Your presence here indicates that you have taken education very seriously and are investing in a brighter future for yourselves, your children and the country as a whole. In the words of O R Tambo, I quote:

“The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future” Close Quote

The African Union’s Vision 2063 is premised on the need for Africa to harness one of its biggest assets – its youthful population. As such the South African Government is committed in focusing its efforts on youth development based on good policy, planning, monitoring and implementation.

As you may be aware that Government has adopted the National Youth Policy 2015- 2020 (NYP2020) which has five key priorities:

  • Enabling economic participation and transformation;

  • Facilitating education, skills development and second chances (quality and access);

  • Health care and combating substance abuse;

  • Facilitating nation building and social cohesion; and

  • Optimising the youth development machinery.

Earlier this week you would have heard Deputy Minister Buti Manamela elaborating on the National Youth Policy. I will therefore not get into detail except to highlight the importance of this policy to mainstream and integrate youth development into all aspects of society. The National Youth Development Agency is also responsible for coordinating and facilitating youth development in the country. It does this by providing programs for young people who want to do business in the form of grants, loans and vouchers.

DIRCO welcomes any initiatives that seeks to empower the youth and build Youth Leadership. The implementation of Agenda 2063, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are important. Which is why we recognize that young people’s involvement in these programs is more crucial than ever in creating a framework for development which places people and the planet at its core.

DIRCO looks forward to hearing your views on how best South Africa can implement all these agreements. We all stand to gain from your fresh insight. Let this be the start of a robust dialogue.

I thank you.


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