Debate on the President`s State of the Nation Address by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs cde Njabulo Nzuza

25 June 2019

Thank you Chair

Your Excellency President Ramaphosa
And the entire Leadership Collective
Madam Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Fellow South Africans

It is an honour to address this audacious gathering the highest in the country, where great minds must enter into a theatrical battle of ideas with the sole intention of giving birth to the best pathway to take this country forward.

In order for us to reach our destination we must firstly understand where we are. Our beloved mother land is faced with great adversity where our economy in the first quarter contracted by 3,2%. 40,7% of young people between the ages of 15-34 are not in employment, education or training.

They linger in rural dwellings, townships, towns and cities, trapped engulfed by the diminishing hope of a better tomorrow. They have taken refuge in drugs, alcohol abuse and crime. Those who have defied the odds and have access to higher education are concerned about their future as they face the reality of graduate unemployment. Those who have made it as professionals in various spheres are frustrated due to racially based promotion systems in the private sector frustrating their upward mobility towards a better future.

To solve the problems faced by our country does not require political grandstanding and populist sloganeering but requires discipline, clarity of thought and the ability to think and act in unison to make sure that tomorrow becomes better than today. To make sure we change the cause of history such that we are remembered as a generation that triumphed against great adversity. Asizele uku zodlala lapha.

If we have been able to make 90% of public schools no fee paying schools we surely can go beyond and ensure that by 2024 all undergraduate students are funded by NSFAS. This we say boldly because our commitment to change the lives of young people through education was re-affirmed by the scraping of the R 967 M of historical debt benefiting 52 414 students.

An uneducated nation can never grow economically and education should not be seen as social expenditure but should be seen for what it truly is, an investment to the future of this country. No country has successfully made the transition from being an under developed country to being a developed country without a substantial investment in education and building its human capital.

We have done well by investing in NSFAS from 70 Million in 1994 to nearly 15 Billion in 2018, resulting in the doubling of the student population in this period. We are now taking off to greater heights by building infrastructure to enable our universities to have higher intakes in order to speedily resolve the higher education backlogs. We must build more state of the art universities with sufficient residencies and academic capacity and research that produces world class graduates who will lead innovation, that will fuel and grow our economy.

These are graduates who’s ground breaking innovative ideas must be supported financially. Innovation is key to economic development and industrial growth. The burning spirit of entrepreneurship that lives amongst our youth must be supported.

Development Finance Institutions must fund innovative ideas on the soundness of the business case and never on the basis of financial standing in society, which was inherently imposed to our young by pre-existing historically disadvantaged backgrounds. How do we expect a fresh from University graduate beaming with innovative ideas to have accumulated assets to be used as collateral?

We must trust in our youth and trust in the future because it is inevitable that they are the future. Oliver Regional Tambo teaches us that “The Children of any nation are its future a country, a movement, a person that does not value its Youth and Children does not deserve its future”.

The rolling out of Small Business Incubation Centres will change the destiny of many young South Africans as they will provide Youth Start-up companies with both Financial and Technical Support.

A 2015 grant funding of the NYDA for an amount of R 49 590 given to Frutee Belliez which is owned by Lisa and Lona Mthethwa in Umlazi Durban for their idea of producing Healthy Snacks and Smoothies using fruits and vegetables today employs 10 people of which 9 a below the age of 35.

This company today supplies private homes, catering companies, Bed and Breakfast operations and Industrial Kitchens. This is a classic example that young people given a chance and more support they have the will and ability to change not only their destiny but of others.

Young people will no longer be bystanders and watch the mineral resources from the belly of their mother land leave to create jobs for international communities. The implementation of a targeted beneficiation program through the introduction of export tax will ensure greater local use of our resources which will in turn create local jobs. This will be the backbone of our Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones.

The COEGA Special Economic Zone with a direct employment at firm level which peaked at 8 210 in the 17/18 financial year with 64% of all employees at firm level being youth is a shining beacon of hope that indeed tomorrow will be better than today. This is evidence that once the program of Special Economic Zones is implemented in full it will create Jobs mainly for the Youth.

South Africa is a beautiful country alive with possibilities. The global community marvels at the beauty of our country. This is a huge economic potential for our country. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council Annual Review, In the year 2018 Tourism created 1,5 Million jobs accounting for 9.2% of total employment. The Tourism industry contributed R 425,8 Billion to the Economy. Tourism is a high impact growth niche for the country.

The implementation of an E-Visa regime by the Department of Home Affairs which is at functional testing stage expected to be piloted in July 2019 and full production by early November 2019 is a serious enabler for tourism growth.

This World Class Visa regime will provide for easy, efficient, yet secure access to the country for visitors. This system will enable tourists to apply for their visa’s online resulting to a quicker turnaround time on visa adjudication. This will bolster our tourism figures and create new Economic and Job opportunities for the Youth.

The expansion of the agricultural sector and agro-processing sector by supporting key value chains will drive our primary agricultural sector and agricultural exports. This will be a huge benefit to our youth who stand to benefit the most.

Our government institutions like the land bank must make intentional interventions that target the Youth not as a by the way but as the primary segment of society to be supported to work the land. The aspersions that young people are lazy are blatantly untrue and unfounded. The youth of this country is ready to work the land because they know that our land is our wealth.

we are inspired by the story of Siphiwo Gift Mafuleka from Bronkhorstpruit who used to work for MacCain Foods as a crop manager but has turned the tide and now runs his own successful diversified farm that also supplies MacCain Foods. This was made possible because the government believed in a young man’s dream who in 2009 was 28 years old.

In 2009 the government assisted him to acquire land and subsequently the capital required to grow the farm. This government will continue to believe in our Youth and expand its programs and as such affirming our conviction that tomorrow will be better than today.

We have a responsibility as this 6th administration to enact legislation that will change the socioeconomic material living conditions of young people, we are called to serve not to come here and dance nor to fight or scream at each other but to always work together towards a common vision to change the lives of our people.

We have a responsibility to speedily put in place legislation that will result to the fall of ridiculously high costs of data. The high cost of data has become a serious impediment that makes costs of doing business highly expensive especially for start-up which are needed to change the lives of our young people.

We have the responsibility to put in place legislation that will see to scraping of experience for entry level positions not only in the public sector but also in the private sector in order open the job market for our Youth. 

The time has come to pass legislation for government procurement set asides for the Youth.

The Youth Employment Service has proved that through the collaboration of government and private business we can solve the scourge of youth unemployment. VW South Africa has created work opportunities for 560 unemployed youth through this program.

Chair we come from a dark past where our youth were condemned before they were born. They were born into a system that intentionally and systematically excluded them from enjoying the fruits of their own mother land. Their destiny was to be nothing more than mere servants in their own country.

We continue to move away from this terrible past towards a better future where young people are masters of their own destiny, where past atrocities committed against our people will not weigh heavy and haunt their future.

The strides and achievements we have made today were once a dream of our forbearers.  It was only but a dream that one day a young African female would be a Combat Fighter Pilot. Today we salute Major Mandisa Mfeka who is today an inspiration to other Females that nothing is impossible.

Fellow South Africans, the words by President Thabo Mbeki holds truth today when he teaches us that “ Gloom and Despondency have never defeated adversity. Trying times need courage and resilience. Our strength as the people is not tested during the best of times”. These are trying economic times for our country but our resilience informed by our clear program will ensure that we change our destiny.

We will not be deterred by arm chair critics who can never see a vision of a better future because they are not visionaries and have lost strategic foresight.

They can never provide solutions but will always point to problems. President Kgalema Motlante teaches us that political consciousness does not bid you farewell when it leaves. uMuntu umuzwa esekhuluma khona lapha ukuthi Yemkile.

In anyway Mr. President Arthur Schopenhauer reminds us that the truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed and thirdly it is accepted as being self-evidence.

Just like the Malaiwan boy who brought electricity to his village was once declared crazy he is today celebrated as a hero. We will build the Smart City just like we brought electricity to rural Kwazulu Natal whilst others were still saying. “u Gesi uzoxhopha izinkomo”. Today they enjoy this electricity just like they will enjoy the Bullet Train.

Your dream and vision Mr. President will go down in history as the start of many great things to happen to our country. We will be remembered that when faced with great adversity we triumphed as the people. Mr. President out of nothing comes nothing but out of a dream comes a reality of a close future.

What we can envisage we can build and make it a reality.  

Homepage Image: