Ramaphosa: ‘We’re on a mission to support young people’

The president says the nation has a responsibility to ensure the flame keeps burning through the youth.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the keynote address during National Youth Day at the Polokwane Cricket Club in Polokwane, Limpopo. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa says the success of many young South Africans shows the flame that burnt in 1976 has not been lost.

Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address at this year's Youth Day celebrations in Polokwane on Sunday.

He told young people gathered that they are the voice of national conscience.

The president says the nation has a responsibility to ensure the flame keeps burning through the youth.

“We’re on a mission to support young people entering the labour market by growing new and future jobs and by giving them the opportunities to serve their communities and we contribute to the growth of our economy.”

He says this support should come in the form of education and skills training.

“If our nation can rise as one and open up opportunities for young people in all facets of society, we will be able to give much greater hope to the young people of our country.”

Ramaphosa said the government is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible to young people to enable them to reach their potential.

He said they remember those who were at the frontlines 43 years ago.

"These are young people of our country who were at the front end, who Were brave, who were courageous, who declared that they want to see their country free.

“And it is you the youth who have taken up the struggle of a new generation. The struggle for economic freedom, for access to land and also for education."


KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said all young people in the country must prioritise education, promising that government will respond with support.

Zikalala was speaking on Sunday during the 43rd anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising at Impumelelo Stadium in Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal.

He said the provincial government will continue with efforts to empower the youth to participate in the mainstream economy.

Zikalala went on to say one of the ways that the government will fulfil this promise is through the continued support of the Youth Business Development Fund that was launched in January.

He has encouraged the youth to seize this opportunity and position themselves for available government assistance.

Zikalala added that the provincial government will continue to work with the private sector to ensure that young people get opportunities for employment or creating their own businesses.

He also turned his attention to social ills, encouraging the youth to abstain from drug and alcohol abuse as well as early sexual activity.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)