Title: SA: Gana: Address by the Democratic Alliance Youth leader, during the DA national Youth Day event in Soweto
Today we commemorate the bravery of those young South Africans who rose up in 1976 in defiance of an unjust policy that denied them opportunities.
We met Mrs Mabaso who tragically lost her son in this uprising. We also met her unemployed grandson who represents the struggles still faced by young South Africans in 2012.
36 years after that fateful day that played out in the very community we stand in today, we again see young people in South Africa, and in the rest of the world, rising up against policies that deny them opportunities.
In 2012, our struggle is to access opportunities to step out of the cycle of poverty. Opportunities like a good education and a job through which we can contribute productively.
3.2 million of us are without the opportunity to work. Everyday this number grows. Every day that the President does nothing about it is a day more of us lose hope.
Today the DA Youth would like to say to all young South Africans: do not give up hope. There are many who have creative and innovative solutions to the youth unemployment crisis, in fact, to many of the crises we face. These are solutions that we will fight for every day until they are implemented. Solutions like the youth wage subsidy, which can create up to 423 000 job opportunities for young South Africans.
We have been fighting hard for the introduction of this youth wage subsidy. The treasury has committed R5 billion to our proposal. The government has indicated they are ready to introduce it and 77% of young people support it. Yet because Cosatu does not support it, and because our President needs their vote to be re-elected as the President of the ANC, he has chosen to sell out the dreams of young South Africans to his own political aspirations.
The DA Youth will not allow South Africa to be held to ransom by Cosatu. We will intensify our campaigning for the subsidy until it is implemented. This is why today I am pleased to announce our Face of Unemployment campaign.
As a part of this campaign the DA Youth has collected photographs from every corner of our land of hundreds of young South Africans that are unemployed. Jobless and almost hopeless, we have captured images of people like 21 year old Anele Xhati who wants to work in office administration but has struggled to find employment for over a year. The pictures show 25 year old Angelique Heynes who has been unemployed for 2 years and 28 year old Xolisa Thiring who, after 10 years of searching, has given up hope of ever finding a job. We met Sharmima Vala, 25 years old, who has spent her entire 20’s without work.
Unemployment is not just a statistic – behind every one of the 3.2 million unemployed young adults are real people, real stories and real hopes and dreams. Every day that the President delays the implementation of the youth wage subsidy is another day he postpones their dreams.
This is why the DA Youth is running the Face of Unemployment campaign, to showcase these stories to South Africa and challenge our President to look beyond the statistics and see the real harm his political game with Cosatu is doing to each of these young people.
The campaign will consist of the erection of billboards in Gauteng that showcase some of these young people to remind South Africans daily as they go about their business what our President is costing us. I am proud to reveal these billboard images today.
In July, the DA Youth will take 423 unemployed young South Africans and their photographs to the President in his office at the Union Buildings. This will represent the 423 000 job opportunities that a youth wage subsidy could create. We will challenge the President to look into each of these young people’s eyes and tell us he still refuses to help them.
While commemorating June 16 1976 remember that, although we are united in our cause, there is one difference between us and the youth of that time, and that is that in South Africa today we live in a non-racial democracy. In a democracy, people have the right to choose and be governed by a party that puts their interests first.
The DA Youth will lead young South Africans in making history by defining ourselves as the generation that defeated youth unemployment to finally create real opportunities for young people.
Honour your past AND own your future, choose the DA.