IFP Youth Brigade National Chairperson and Member of Parliament Mkhuleko Hlengwa is outlining his expectations of the State of the Nation address by President Zuma, which will be delivered on Thursday, 14 February 2013.
There are two top issues that we in the IFPYB will be looking for in the State of the Nation address tomorrow. If they are not adequately dealt with it will simply reinforce the notion that the gap between this administration and the grassroots is growing daily.
For IFP youth and indeed all the youth of South Africa the two top issues are JOBS & EDUCATION. The youth needs both skilled and unskilled jobs and a huge investment into the quality of South Africa's education needs to be made urgently.
We also need a President who is not now going to bow down to sectoral pressure. We have a situation of the Youth Wage Subsidy that has been stopped because the president bows down to pressure of unions. The time to implement the Youth Wage Subsidy is now. The continued delay in implementing the Youth Wage Subsidy compounds the problem of unemployment, inequality and poverty further. The president should also have a forceful stand about the NYDA, particularly about the absence of the board of directors.
The IFP declares 2013 the year that government should make significant change in the quality of education in our country. We will, therefore, be watching very closely to see what kind of priority President Zuma and his administration will give to education in his state of the nation address and will also look to see how the budgeting process supports it.
We are not fooled by the public relations hullabaloo created over the increase of the 2012 matric pass rate. While we welcome all and any improvement in the matric results we still question its quality. Did these passes got learners admitted in universities, are they going to allow them to excel in their studies and their careers of choice or will it serve as an albatross, weighing them down as they struggle to participate and compete?
How many learners actually passed maths and science, as these subjects are needed for engineers, doctors, etc., which are in shortage.
Our schools need to be better resourced, educators need to be rewarded with better employment packages and conditions of employment and learners need to be given every opportunity to excel.
Texts books must be delivered in all the schools on time. Last year we had a huge saga by the Department of Education in Limpopo where textbooks were not delivered in schools and it seems like this year too there is an issue with textbooks that are not delivered in some schools in Limpopo. The President must address this issue we do not need another crisis again.
Children should not have an empty stomach at school and no child should have to walk long and dangerous distances to school every morning. It must be made sure that children have a quality meal at school and not simply a slice of bread and cup of soup. They should also have reliable transport to and from school which is also a system that actually creates jobs.
All we want to hear about in the state of the nation address regarding job creation is how this administration is going to create jobs, jobs and more jobs. We will not be satisfied with anything less.
We need to create a conducive environment for businesses to create jobs and for businesses to stimulate economic growth and economic development.
Infrastructure development is part of creating a conducive environment, and parallel to that skills development and a healthy education system which responds to the interests and the needs of the job market is part of that conducive environment. Quality education is part and parcel of assisting the economy to create jobs.
Many young people are still unemployed - some are sitting at home with qualifications that the job market does not need. Where the job market is falling short there are no skilled people to fill in the vacancies.
Therefore, the youth should be made aware of the fields that are short of professionals so that they can seek to study in those fields.
Young people need jobs so government needs to spend less energy on funding of road-shows and public relation,s and instead spend more on ensuring that our youth are working.
No government tender at national, provincial or municipal level should be granted without specifying how many new jobs it will create for the youth and for how long.
All 2013 budgets (national and provincial) and IDP processes must specifically state how many new jobs will be created during its budget cycle and should not be approved without this provision.
This administration must step up its research and investment into the creation of green jobs, in particular, to ensure that the youth of South Africa are not left millions of "green" miles behind in the development of this vital business sector.
We are waiting and watching and hope that the 2013 state of the nation address will prove to be youth-friendly with emphasis on quality, affordable education and jobs, jobs and more jobs for all.