Western Cape Job Centres providing unemployed youth with critical skills to access jobs

This statement follows an oversight visit by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Western Cape Premier Candidate, Alan Winde, DA Team One South Africa Spokesperson on Access to Jobs, Geordin Hill-Lewis and DA Youth Leader, Luyolo Mphithi to the I-CAN Centre in Elsies River.

Today, the DA conducted an oversight visit to the I-CAN Centre in Elsies River, Cape Town. The Centre, funded by the Western Cape Provincial Government, was established to equip residents with necessary skills to enter the job market.


We met with young people who told us how the Centre’s computer lab and creative zone have given them access to digital skills that they previously would never have been able to have.

The Centre has also done incredible work in providing entrepreneurs with digital services to professionalise their businesses.

South Africa is currently facing an unprecedented job crisis as unemployment now stands at a shocking 10 million. The fault for the country’s high unemployment rate falls squarely at the feet of the failing ANC government who have governed our economy into a recession.

The ANC has time and again proven that they lack the innovation and political will needed to solve the unemployment crisis.

Instead of addressing the challenges millions of South Africans face in accessing jobs, the ANC hosts talk shops and job summits which amount to nothing.

Where the Democratic Alliance governs, we create an environment in which people can take advantage of opportunities to enhance and develop skills which will improve their access to employment. DA-led governments consistently deliver the lowest unemployment rate and create the most jobs in the country.

Initiatives such as the I-CAN centre are one of the reasons the City of Cape Town was able to grow employment by 5% in the last quarter despite an unprecedented drought.

The Western Cape created more than 75% of all the new jobs in South Africa in the first quarter of 2018. In the DA-governed City of Johannesburg, 109 000 jobs were created in the first two quarters of the year reducing the unemployment rate in the City by 1.5%.

This is proof of the DA difference, we do not just talk big, we get the job done.

The DA is the only party with a plan to create fair access to real, long-term jobs across South Africa.

When elected to national government, we will focus on:

  1. Introducing a Voluntary National Service – one year of income and skills development for school leavers.
  2. Creating job centres throughout South Africa that provide information, advice and free internet to job-seekers.
  3. Growing small business opportunities through increased funding assistance and removing blockage and red-tape
  4. Prosecuting and eliminating the practice of “sex for jobs” and carpet interviews;
  5. Prosecuting and eliminating the practice of “cash for jobs” and corruption in allocating jobs.

Unemployment is a waste of human potential and only our plan will give unemployed South Africans the dignity of having a job. The DA is committed to building One South Africa for All; a country in which all people have fair access to jobs and opportunities.

Pictures can be downloaded here, here and here

Only the DA can bring real change to the Eastern Cape

Please find attached soundbites by Nqaba Bhanga, DA EC Premier Candidate, in IsiXhosa and English. Also find attached a soundbite in IsiXhosa by a resident visited. These remarks were delivered during the launch of the Premier Candidate’s Listening Tour in KwaZakhele.

Today I launched my Premier Listening Tour in Nobatana Street in KwaZakhele, the area where I grew up.


The purpose of the Listening Tour is to listen to and engage with Eastern Cape residents about issues they face on a daily basis.

I spent my formative years in KwaZakhele and I am fully aware of the challenges that face the poor and suffering people of our province.

I visited four households in Nobatana Street and quality housing, which is a competence of the national government, and unemployment seem to be creating the most suffering.

Most of the houses are in desperate need of rectification and damaged roofs, leaking toilets and pipes, broken doors and windows and even a total lack of water and electricity cause great suffering.

Nelson Mandela Bay townships, like KwaZakhele, were prioritised under the previous DA-led coalition government. Construction projects took place, roads were tarred, streetlights were installed and rubbish dumps were turned into parks.

All of this will now be undone by the ANC-led coalition of corruption in charge of NMB.

The progress the DA-led coalition made in bringing opportunities to NMB townships, is something that a DA government will roll out to all townships in our beautiful province.

A DA government will speed up the delivery of basic services and create fair access to real and long-term jobs

The DA is also committed to:

  • Fight corruption to ensure that all public money is spent on the people of the EC;
  • Fix the South African Police Service to become an honest and professional organisation that actually serves and protects the people of the EC;
  • Fight the scourge of drug abuse;
  • Accelerate the delivery of quality service; and
  • Build and economy that ensure fair access to real, long-term jobs

The 2019 election is the people’s chance to get our province back on track. It is their chance to choose – we can allow the EC to become more unequal, more corrupt and more uncaring. Or we can choose change that builds a better future for all the people.

A vote for the ANC is a vote for more empty promises and more orruption.

Only the DA can bring the real change that builds a better future for the EC and One South Africa for All.

Please click here, here and here to download pictures.


Two independent coal power stations to cost South Africans extra R23 billion and should be scrapped

In a parliamentary reply to a DA question, the Department of Energy (DOE) has confirmed that the two additional coal Independent Power Producing (IPP) projects that have been committed to, will cost the consumer an additional R23 billion. This will definitely be passed onto the consumer through higher electricity tariffs.

Given the environmental as well as the financial burden of the two coal IPPs and in light of a revised Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018 which is focused on renewable energy, the DOE should immediately resolve to cancel these two coal IPPs and proceed to fill the gap with a combination of solar and wind.

On top of the higher tariffs, a study by UCT’s Energy Research Centre, has indicated that these coal IPPs would add R28 billion to South Africa’s costs in trying to keep our greenhouse gas emissions within international commitments made in the Paris Agreement.

Financial institutions have also begun to take note of the environmental concerns with a new policy position to not fund any future coal projects.

With the DOE and a number of energy institutions unable to table annual reports in time, the Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, needs to provide clear leadership and resolve these issues along with the cancellation of the two coal IPPs urgently

South Africans are hard-pressed in this current economic climate, with rising unemployment, increased VAT, personal taxes and yet another petrol increase. The last thing we need is an unnecessary additional electricity tariff hike due to two coal power plants.

Zwakele Mncwango will lead the DA’s fight to bring real change to KwaZulu Natal

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the announcement of the DA’s Premier Candidate for KwaZulu Natal, at the Ohlange High School in Inanda, eThekwini. Maimane was joined by DA KZN Provincial Chairperson, Francois Rodgers.

Today I am pleased to be here at Ohlange High School in eThekwini to announce that the DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx) has ratified the nomination of Zwakele Mncwango as the Democratic Alliance’s Premier Candidate for KZN in the 2019 Election.

The ground we stand on today holds significance for not just our country’s past, but the direction we take in building our country’s future. This school was founded in 1900 by John Dube, who was the first President of the ANC.

Dube, along with his wife, Nokutela, made history as Ohlange became the first school in South Africa to be founded by a black South African. Many South Africans have passed through the doors of Ohlange, Chief Albert Luthuli among them. And it was within the walls of this school that the Father of our Nation, Tata Madiba, chose to cast his first vote in the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994.

Mandela, Luthuli and Dube were indeed heroes of their time. Pioneers who, in the face of adversity, held onto their conviction and fought for a free, democratic South Africa.

These heroes fulfilled their roles but were sadly followed by a group of individuals who have forgotten the plight of our people and have used their power to make themselves and their friends rich. The province of KwaZulu Natal is a striking example of this betrayal of the people by today’s ANC and its leaders.

KwaZulu Natal has the potential to be a province that can create jobs and opportunities for our people. But it’s taken a wrong turn from the path envisaged at the dawn of our democracy. Crime is rising, corruption is oppressing us and there is no fair access to jobs. This is not what we were promised.

The dominance of the ANC means they have become complacent and focused on enriching only themselves. Not only have they failed to create jobs for the people of KZN or keep them safe from crime, they don’t even know how to. They are no longer capable of managing the real problems the people of KZN face each day.

The truth is that until the ANC is removed from power, Utsotsi abakayi ndawo.

The tstoti’s have not just found their political home in the ANC, but the ANC has become the very vehicle through which they steal, loot, and even kill. KZN is a province marred by political killings, whereby ANC members resort to murdering each other in order to gain access to power and public funds.

Just two days ago, an ANC councillor was arrested for the murder of a fellow ANC councillor in Msunduzi, just less that 100kms from here. The findings of the Moerane Commission, which was set up to investigate political killings in the province, appear to be so explosive that its final report was withheld from the public and only tabled in a closed meeting in the KZN provincial legislature. Despite constant pressure from the DA, Premier Willies Mchunu refuses to release the report.

There is no doubt that the ANC’s patronage network, in-fighting for resources in government, and other internal ANC battles are the reasons behind these political killings. While the ANC fight each other, no one is fighting for the people of KZN.

Unemployment is on the rise, the provincial health department is on its knees – leading to the ongoing oncology crisis, and poverty is rampant. There has been a breakdown in basic governance, as many residents are without water, electricity, and basic services.

This is because the ANC has become the problem. It has failed and will continue to fail the people of South Africa. The values of the heroes of previous generations – such as Mandela, Dube and Sisulu – have long since left the ranks of the ANC.

Today, we desperately need a new generation of 21st century leaders that stand for the values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity, to lead the charge in removing the failing and corrupt ANC from government. I have no doubt Zwakele Mncwango represents such a generation.

Zwakele has a vision for KZN that will see access to jobs for all, the eradication of poverty and inequality, and where all are united in our diversity – where it be race, religion or culture.

Born and raised in Nongoma in rural KZN, Zwakele is a son of the KwaMandlakazi tribe. His father was a security guard in Durban and his mother was a Hawker in Nongoma selling by taxi ranks and town streets. His parents worked hard to ensure that their family had something to eat and to pay school fees. As a young boy, Zwakele spent his afternoons looking after the family cattle and goats after walking 10 kilometres to and from school.

Zwakele has overcome the odds and has a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering, a Bachelor of Technology in Engineering Management, and a Master’s in Business Administration. From humble beginnings as a branch member canvassing for the party, Zwakele has risen through the ranks of the DA and is currently the DA Leader in KwaZulu Natal. He also serves on the DA’s Federal Executive and Federal Council.

From today, he will  lead a team that will be committed to fighting corruption, working to fix the police service in the province so that it focuses on actually protecting and serving the people of KZN, fighting the scourge of drug abuse, creating fair access to real and long-term jobs and working to speed up the delivery of basic services to our people.

In a province of competing forms of nationalism – be they racial, cultural or religious – the DA stands alone in its offer of a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious future. Zwakele will lead this charge in the province of KZN.

Today, I pledge the full support of the national leadership to Zwakele in his campaign to bring change to KZN. Only the DA can bring change that builds a better future for all in KZN.

Failing ANC policies led SA into economic recession

Please find below an updated version of the statement released earlier.

The news that South Africa is in its first recession since 2009 will further burden South Africans oppressed by poverty and unemployment.

The crisis is a direct result of the ANC government which has failed to provide the necessary leadership and policy certainty to grow the economy and open access to jobs for approximately 10 million unemployed South Africans.

This is not the “result of a prolonged trend of slowdown in economic growth” as the governing party claims and it is not a ‘Zuma hangover’. This economic tragedy did not happen in isolation. It is the outcome of the collective arrogance and poor planning on the part of the whole ANC.

The fact is, six months into his tenure, President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed to inspire confidence or prove that the ANC national government has turned over a new leaf.

President Ramaphosa’s assurances that the country’s economic outlook “will look brighter” will do nothing to curb the ever-increasing unemployment, rebuild declining investor confidence or make life better for South Africans.

What the failing ANC National government has done is increase the burden on people oppressed by poverty and unemployment.

The ANC government has increased VAT by 1 percentage point, the petrol price has increased every month since March and the cost of living is on a constant rise, as South Africans struggle to provide for themselves and their families.

The failing ANC would have us believe that the recession stems from the Zuma era, but this could not be further from the truth. Our dire economic circumstances are ANC-created and ANC-endorsed.

It is clear that the ANC government has consistently failed to realise South Africa’s potential and have no plans on how to ignite inclusive growth in order to open access to jobs for the almost 10 million unemployed South Africans.

South Africans deserve a government that will work for them, cut corruption and ensure the economy grows and jobs are created.

Parliament must urgently debate new, innovative ideas to revive our economy following recession

Today Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has announced that South Africa’s economy is officially in recession, with GDP growth for Quarter 2 of 2018 down 0.7%, which follows a 2.6% contraction in Quarter 1 of 2018. This recession – the second in 2 years – is an explicit vote of no confidence in the ANC government, its economic policy direction, and its ability to create jobs and prosperity for all South Africans.

Today’s announcement marks a continuation of the past decade of economic decline brought about by previous ANC governments. There has been no fundamental change to the ANC’s approach to the economy. Corruption, policy incoherence, crumbling SOEs, lack of investment, and unstable governance continues to produce economic instability and rising unemployment. We cannot continue down the same path any longer.

There is hope for our country and its economy, and there exists an array of fresh, alternative ideas that if implemented can ignite growth and get our economy up and running again. It is for this reason I will today write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament on this matter. This will allow a collaborative effort in which all sides of the House can present new, innovative ideas as to how we can reverse this persistent economic decline and get South Africa working again.

Crucially, the ANC’s mismanagement of the economy reaches well beyond just those who are unemployed. GDP per capita statistics show that actual household income has been in decline for the past 5 years.

The fact that household income has been in decline for past 5 years is what truly matters to ordinary South Africans trying to make ends meet and provide for themselves and their families. Despite shiny PR stunts and sumptuous talkshops, South Africans are getting poorer and poorer under the ANC government. This year alone, we’ve witnessed:

  • Unemployment reaching its highest level since the dawn of democracy – with almost 10 million jobless South Africans;
  • VAT increasing for the first time in 20 years – a direct financial assault on the poor, working and middle classes;
  • The highest income tax bracket increasing for the 3rd consecutive year;
  • Petrol prices sitting at well over R15 per litre, shooting up food and transport costs; and
  • The rand at a 27-month low – its weakest value since June 2016.

Our economy is currently on life-support as a direct result of a corrupt and failing ANC government which has no plan for our economy. We will never achieve a united, non-racial and prosperous nation without a growing economy which creates jobs, opportunity and wealth for all.

What South Africa now requires is leadership that understands our economy and appreciates that without a strong and thriving economy we will never address the injustices of our past. Where the DA governs, investment is increasing and jobs are being created because of our steadfast focus on clean, corruption-free and fiscally responsible governments that invest in local infrastructure.

The only hope for our country, for our economy and for the almost 10 million South Africans is to remove the ANC from government in 2019 and elect a new government that has real, workable solutions for the future.

Women are the greatest victims of ANC Corruption and Unemployment

When the women of 1956 embarked on a march to the seat of the Apartheid Government, they did so not merely as women but as leaders who wanted to change the unfair status quo. Like the youth of 1976, their protest and agenda was not isolated to fight for the rights of those who they represent – women and young people – their fight was for the rights and humanity of all people. Women, men; young and old; black, white, Indian and coloured people.

We owe this generation of women and young people better than the society we live in now.

It is not right that women and young people make up the majority of the almost 10-million jobless South Africans. These aren’t faceless people, they are our neighbours, our sisters, our mothers; people who have dedicated their existence to not only keeping families together but also building communities through their selfless struggle for equality.

Women bear the brunt of the humanitarian crisis of unemployment. A crisis caused by an ANC government only focused on enriching themselves and who don’t know how to manage the real problems South Africa faces. Using the expanded unemployment figure, 41,2% of women are without work, compared to 33,7% of men.

This humanitarian crisis leaves women vulnerable to the oppressive and inhumane system of patriarchy and the abuse, physical and mental, which accompanies it.

At the Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital, at least 100 courageous women came forward to state that they were forced to engage in a ‘carpet interview’ and pay in order to gain access to jobs at the hospital. The women who refused to be party to this illegal and corrupt act were dismissed.

This corrupt act which strips women of their dignity does not stop once one gets a job, it continues because threats of dismissal are made if they do not continue subjecting their bodies to men in power.

Democrats, South Africans, we cannot run away from the fact that men are the ones actively committing these acts.

As a man, when you hear your friends making crude comments about women, call them to order. When you see a woman being harassed, intervene. The fight for women’s rights is a fight for human rights, as encapsulated in our glorious Constitution. Teach your sons from an early age the right way to treat a woman. You can end the cycle.

We need to stand together in keeping women safe, in both public and private space; whether in the workspace on our streets.

To the Police Officers here, your role is also of critical importance. When women enter the Charge Office, you have a duty and responsibility to listen, be compassionate and investigate. You have a job to restore order and keep our communities safe. Be honest and professional. Serve and protect with pride.

Democrats, South Africans,

What is abundantly clear is that ANC government is part of the problem. Mdu Manana was treated with extreme dignity when there was video of him abusing women. When one of his employees came forward to tell her horror story, the ANC and ANC Women’s League kept quiet. When an ANC branch leader kicked a lady outside Luthuli House, no action was taken.

When women, in their numbers, marched to the Union Buildings under the banner of #TotalShutdown they were left to wait for hours before their memorandum was received by the ANC government.

The ANC government does not respect women nor does it have a plan to keep our mothers and sisters safe from abuse. It does not care and it does not know how to.

Democrats, South Africans,

We have the power to change our beautiful country, where women are treated as equals at all levels of society.

The next election is your chance to choose between the corruption and exploitation of women or change that protects and advances the interests of women.

The DA will bring change that builds One South Africa for All. Change that promotes fair access to real, long-term jobs.

A DA government will ensure that carpet interviews are criminalised and all perpetrators arrested by an honest and professional police service that protects our people.

This women’s month, join the movement that puts the people of South Africa first. Join the team that builds One South Africa for All.

Register to vote for real change, not populist empty promises

The follow remarks were made today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the IEC Offices in Tembisa, Gauteng. Maimane was joined by DA Federal Youth Leader, Luyolo Mphithi.

My fellow South Africans,

With only months to go until the election next year, it is important that we talk honestly and openly about the real choices each and every one of us will have to make.

I say “real” choices, because we need to distinguish fact from fiction. There is plenty of fiction going around these days, presented as election promises and even government policy.

Every day in every desperate community across our country we see and hear fantastical stories offered up by parties who have no intention of ever delivering on these promises.

Land, jobs, wealth, better services, free education – they make it sound so easy. But they never explain how they will deliver any of this from our shrinking economy, because they simply can’t.

This scramble for voter support by saying whatever despairing people want to hear, no matter how unachievable, has a name. It’s called populism. And typically, once voting day has come and gone, these pledges are discarded and forgotten until the next election.

Populism might sound revolutionary, but it is real-world plans that solve problems. And that’s why we need to separate fact from fiction before we go to the polls.

Fiction is when our president travels abroad, telling the world they must come and invest here, but back home he does everything he can to scare future investors off.

Fiction is when the ANC and EFF both try to convince desperate South Africans that land expropriation without compensation will somehow instantly improve their lives, when every shred of historical evidence says it will do the exact opposite.

Fiction is when the ANC government talks about turning our economy around and creating jobs, but then carries on doing exactly what got us into this trouble in the first place.

And believe me, we are in deep, deep trouble. Two days ago Stats SA released the latest jobs numbers – the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of 2018.

Officially, our unemployment rate went up to 27.2%, or 6.1 million South Africans. But forget about the official rate, because that doesn’t tell the full story. The official rate only includes people still actively looking for work.

If you’ve lost hope of ever finding a job and have given up looking, then you fall into the “expanded” definition of unemployment. And this number has now gone up to 37.2% of the working-age population.

A staggering 9.63 million South Africans who need to work and who want to work, cannot find work. That’s 154,000 more than in the first quarter of this year.

For those under 24 years old, the unemployment rate soars to 67.1%. Let that sink in: more than two thirds of our young people cannot find work.

This is the single biggest issue of our time. This will be what will make or break us as a nation. Because if we cannot find a way to put these young people in jobs, then there is no future for our country.

So these are our choices. We can either fool ourselves into believing the fiction that says the ANC and EFF’s plans of rampant nationalisation, expropriation and taxation will somehow miraculously do the opposite of what every expert is predicting, or we can deal in facts.

I am a facts person. I like to gather as much evidence as I can, listen to as many experts as I can, weigh up all the possible positive and negative outcomes and then make a decision based on these facts.

And the facts say that only through clean government, business-friendly policy and hard work will we turn our country around. This approach may not grab the headlines like the populists with their make-believe slogans do, but it’s the only one that will work.

The facts say that if we are to have any hope of creating jobs for the millions of unemployed South Africans, then it will have to happen through economic growth. Real growth of 5 or 6 or 7% per year, not the paltry 1.2% forecast for our economy.

The facts say that this growth is only possible through a flourishing private sector – businesses large and small – and not through an inefficient and corrupt state that owns and controls everything.

The facts say that threatening people’s property rights and expropriating their land leads to economic and agricultural collapse, as we saw in both Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

The facts say that people want dignity and freedom that come with employment, rather than dependence on the state.

The facts say that if you want to equip young people for the future, then excellence in education – and specifically in subjects like maths and science – is non-negotiable.

These are the facts, but you won’t find any of them in the populism of the ANC or the EFF. There you will only find pie-in-the-sky promises of free everything for everyone – promises that no one can possibly keep.

This is something young South Africans need to think about very carefully. If you are in your late teens or early twenties in this country, then you are in a population group that suffers the highest unemployment rate in the entire world.

But, at this age, you are also about to vote in your very first ever election. And this presents you with a powerful opportunity to tear up the miserable story written for you by this government, and to write your own future.

This is a rare and precious opportunity. If you don’t use it, then you will have wasted your best chance at changing the course of history for the better. And believe me, you will regret it.

But the first step is to ensure that your name appears correctly on the voter’s roll. Every election, thousands of young voters wake up too late and have to accept that their first ever election will take place without them.

Don’t let this happen to you. Take your ID document – either your green barcoded ID book or your ID smartcard – to an IEC office during office hours on weekdays where you will be asked to complete a registration form.

Make sure your name is on the roll. Make sure you get to participate in our democracy. Because the only way we will save our country from the corrupt and the selfish is if those with the most at stake play their part.

150 000 more people unemployed under the ANC is a humanitarian crisis

The increase in unemployment to 27.2% revealed today in StatsSA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.

Expanded unemployment figures now stand at a staggering 9.634 million, up by 154 000 from the first quarter, with the manufacturing sector hardest hit with 105 000 job losses.

Each of the 9.6 million unemployed South Africans represent tens of millions of people who are dependent on their ability to earn a living. As a result of this, our country is facing an unprecedent humanitarian crisis.

The youth remain the hardest hit by joblessness, with 67.1% of the 15-24 year-old bracket and 43.2% of the 25-34 year-old bracket unemployed.

The fact that South Africa’s youth segment of the labour force is largely unemployed is an indictment on the ANC government’s inability to manage our economy. Furthermore, rampant corruption, maladministration and policy uncertainly has directly led to this jobs bloodbath.

The DA has repeatedly called for and proposed youth employment initiatives, as well as sectoral minimum wages, as we firmly believe these policies will save and create more jobs.

Considering this dire situation, it is time that the ANC takes accountability for the crisis they have plunged the country into. What South Africa needs is a party that will put its people first and ensure that we cultivate an environment for job creation.

The DA is the only party with a credible plan for lifting millions of South Africans out of unemployment and poverty. Voting the ANC out in 2019 is the only way of ensuring more people have fair access to jobs.

Youth must be empowered to bring about a better South Africa

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education & Training, Hlomela Bucwa MP, during the debate on Youth Day.

Honourable Chair,

Let me begin by sharing simple words from one of the leaders who has inspired me not because he spoke to truth to power or fought for equal rights, but because he lived that which he preached.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

He did not choose to place one issue above the other, or one race over another, but argued that we would inevitably lose our humanity the day we refused to speak out.

Honourable Members, we believe that every South African is of equal worth regardless of class, race, gender or creed.

It is indeed a great tragedy that, two decades into our democracy, young people remain locked out of opportunities. They are victims of an unjust system that continues to favour the elite few.

It is easier for some to stand here and pretend they have a good story to tell as some of these members sit in ivory towers oblivious to the challenges faced by our youth on the ground.

For some of us, it is unfathomable how one can continue to say they are doing well while the majority of youth are still not free from the shackles of poverty and unemployment, while young women lack total freedom of movement because of crime and lack of sanitary towels.

It is the greatest irony, noting that the government is celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela – whose legacy they claim must be lived.

Former President Mandela said: “education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person of another.”

However, the unfortunate reality we face today is that:

  • Unemployment has increased: we have 9.5 million people who can’t find employment or have given up on searching for a job;
  • Of the 20 million young people between the ages of 15 -35, almost 8 million are not in education, training or employment;
  • 71% of schools have no library facilities and almost 60% of schools do not have computer labs;
  • 490 699 learners drop out of school between grades 10 and 12;
  • 35% of students in institutions of higher learning drop out due to the lack of funding for tuition, accommodation, transport and food;
  • 39 828 rape incidences have been reported in the year 2016/17; and
  • Between 2014 and 2016 a total of 42 253 pupils from Grades 3 to 12 fell pregnant. 193 of these pupils were in Grades 3, 4 and 5.

These are not characteristics of a growing state or one that seeks sustainable socio-economic development with an emphatic focus on the youth as we remain the present and the future of our country.

There is no true freedom in poverty and unemployment. There is no freedom without quality education when our TVET colleges are degenerating each day.

When our students are subjected to inhumane living conditions and lack of resources we set them up for failure. When we fail to support young entrepreneurs and glorify looting we fail our nation.

But a critical point I must emphasise again is the importance of education as a tool of empowerment for our youth. It remains a tragedy that access to quality education remains skewed according to income level that, in turn, correlates with race.

In other words, many black children from low-income households continue to be denied opportunities because of the huge inequality in terms of instructional quality that exists in the South African education system.

The expansion of access to education for all children has been one of the great achievements of the democratic era. The focus has included increasing the quantity of teachers, sometimes to the detriment of quality.

Therefore, we see many of our students in institutions of higher learning struggling and you’d find that we try to fix basic education problems in higher education.

As a country, we must invest in quality technical and vocational education and skills training (TVET), and university education.

The funding of tuitions for students and education and training institutions remains an issue for education and skills development in the country. For example, the TVET college sector is underfunded by government.

In 2017/18, the subsidies only covered 53% of costs rather than 80% as prescribed by policy, leaving 50 government-funded TVETs struggling under social and financial pressures from students and staff.

While there is an increase in enrolments, the amount of students who do not complete their qualifications is astronomical.

Chair, a DA-led government would prioritise our TVET colleges by revising the curriculum and content provided to equip our youth with skills that will enable them to actively participate in the economy, be innovative and solve the challenges they face today.

We will continue to advocate for more practical training to ensure that we reach the 70/30 requirement. We would ensure that we amend the current funding policy to ensure that our students get their allowances on time as it is inhumane to allow students to register and only release allowances after five months into the academic year. Our students would be provided with dignified accommodation that would ensure a living and learning environment.

The DA funding model in institutions of higher learning seeks to ensure that no student who is eligible to study is prevented to do so because they cannot afford to. It will ensure that a child of a domestic worker can acquire and education and be granted funding which will cover full cost of study.

Those who fall within the missing middle would be proportionally subsidised and those who can afford must pay. To suggest that the child of Honourable Ramaphosa must study for free is an injustice –  it perpetuates inequality.

Lastly, Chair, allow me to draw strength again from Dr King who said: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

The strides of the youth of ‘76 were not in vain and should never be undermined, as they served as great contributors to the freedoms we enjoy today.

The time has come again for the youth to rise and take out the government and usher in a new beginning.

The DA recognises and acknowledges the injustices of the past and seeks to achieve on South Africa for all where we can live in a free, fair and diverse country with equal opportunities for all.