SA political leaders celebrate Youth Day

Ramaphosa and Malema promote South African youth in commemoration for those who died.

12 year-old Hector Pieterson (seen on the picture at L) was shot on 16 June, 1976 during the Soweto uprising that today is a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Picture: AFP.

NORTHERN CAPE - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is planning to open two new universities to provide more education opportunities for the youth especially in rural areas.

He says the universities will be opened in Mpumalanga and in the Northern Cape.

Ramaphosa was addressing government's main Youth Day gathering in Galeshewe in the Northern Cape.

"We expect the Sol Plaatje University to have a profound impact ensuring that skills, knowledge and talent are retained in this province."

Ramaphosa says government is also working to expand training opportunities for young people with no work experience.

"A major priority is that we should provide work experience for new entrants in the work force. As a starting point the public sector will be required to increase the number of spaces for graduates."

Meanwhile in Rustenburg, Economic Freedom Fighters ( EFF) leader Julius Malema has used Youth Day to encourage miners on the platinum belt in the North West to continue their struggle for better wages.

He says today's public holiday should not be about sitting around and drinking alcohol but should be used to celebrate the sacrifices of those who died in the Soweto uprising in 1976.

He says the pupils who marched on this day 38 years ago died so that the youth of South Africa could have jobs, not still be struggling twenty years into democracy.

Malema thanked residents for voting for the EFF and that mineworkers in the province must be strong.

He said just like the youth of 1976, their struggle will also help the people of the country.

Malema has promised the miners who downed tools in January that his party will keep supporting their cause.

"We shall fight for our people until we attain victory, no matter the conditions."

Malema also says the only union miners should trust and listen to is the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Earlier on Monday thousands of EFF members shouted and screamed as Malema walked into the barricaded area.

He went on stage and lifted his hands to greet the crowd, some of whom are children in school uniform.

Although Malema arrived hours late, supporters were patient saying he at least makes time for them, unlike ANC President Jacob Zuma.

Malema danced on stage along with local performers who had been entertaining the crowd.

Eyewitness News put together this video, presented by Mia Spies, in commemoration of the youth.