The year 2017 ushers in the 41st Anniversary of the National Youth Day, triggered by the “Soweto Uprisings” on the 16th of June 1976. In Johannesburg this 41st anniversary comes against the backdrop of a changed political landscape, where the governance of the City of Johannesburg is under the leadership of the DA led coalition government and EFF following the Local Government Elections of the 3rd of August 2016.
This comes 23 years after the start of our democracy following the first democratic election of April 1994.
The 41st anniversary of the Soweto uprisings is an important milestone as it means that the majority of young people who led the struggle against apartheid at the time would have reached retirement age in 2017.
The assessment of our current socio-economic conditions would tell us that the majority of these heroes would also be beneficiaries of the government’s social grant system. Most of them, being residents of the City of Johannesburg, would still be awaiting for the economic benefits of democracy, which have simply not come forth, 23 years post democracy.
It is also an important milestone in that our first democratic elections in 1994, happened a mere 18 years following June 1976 Soweto Uprisings.
This would aptly suggest that the torch bearers of the uprising would also have been the “Midwives” to the birth of the democratic dispensation. It is disconcerting that despite the freedom we have, young people continue to be confronted with many challenges emanating from acute levels of unemployment and poverty.
The coalition government and the EFF of the City of Johannesburg has set itself 10 priority areas in order to ensure improvement of the life of the residents. Two of these priorities speak directly to the issues of young people. The priorities are: “run a responsive and pro poor government”, and achieve a minimum 5% economic growth by 2021.
The Legislature of the City of Johannesburg is responsible for oversight and public participation. Through the Section 79 and the Ward Committees, I will ensure that we hold the executive accountable in order to ensure achievement of the priorities.. In this way we will be able to contribute significantly towards improving the life of our residents, and the youth in particular.
I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all the fathers well as they celebrate the Fathers’ Day on Sunday the 18th June 2017. Present and responsible fathers complete a stable and healthy family as the basic unit of society.
I would like to pay special tribute to the Young fathers who continue to ensure stable families and provide proper environment and support.
This will ensure that we grow bright and wonderful young people in support of stable communities.
I would like to encourage the young fathers and the young people generally, to continue the Legacy of the youth on the 16th June 1976, and ensure that the issues of young people are always at the top of government and private sector programmes.