‘Youth Day a chance to focus on issues facing young people’

Jacob Zuma has urged young people not to allow anything to stand in the way of their education.

President Jacob Zuma speaks during the Youth Day celebration in Soweto. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

SOWETO - President Jacob Zuma says Youth Day presents an opportunity not only to remember the 1976 Soweto uprising, but to focus on the issues facing the young people of today.

He used his address at government's official Youth Day commemoration at Orlando Stadium to remember those whose lives were destroyed during the fight for freedom in South Africa.

Zuma also urged young people not to allow anything to stand in the way of their education.

He said government was doing its part to ensure South Africans had access to quality education.

"To improve access to education, at least 80 percent of our public schools are now no-fee schools."

He said it was up to young people to ensure they made use of those opportunities and stayed in school.

#YouthDay [VIDEO]: Excitement ahead of today's address by President Jacob Zuma. DB. pic.twitter.com/Mjv9ZYITaD

The president also raised concerns about the alarming levels of drug and alcohol abuse among South Africa's youth.

Zuma warned young people that if they destroyed their futures, they were also killing the nation.

LISTEN: #YouthDay: 'SA must heal before it celebrates'


The president also used Youth Day to speak out against the torching of schools and university property, saying they were unforgivable acts that should never be condoned.

He said the country could not develop its youth if government constantly needed to repair damaged property.

"The resources that are meant to bring development are diverted to go and rebuild what you have destroyed and it doesn't make sense."

Zuma said the country needed to get to the bottom of this emerging culture of burning educational facilities.

While leaders have encouraged young South Africans to emulate the youth of '76, they have also discouraged them from participating in acts of violence and vandalism.

#YouthDay2016 Zuma tells young people here: "Nothing must distract you from obtaining education". DB

#YouthDay2016 Zuma urges those who were funded through NSFAS to make their repayments once they start working. DB