One of the best fitting tributes to young heroes and heroines that sacrificed to help achieve the freedom we have today is to make South Africa safer for women and children.
This year's Youth Month takes place at the time when the country is confronted with increasing reports of violent and brutal attacks on women and children. The South African Police Services crime statistics indicate that there are about 52 murders and 143 sexual and related offences that are committed in South Africa daily, with a possibility of under reporting of sexual offences. Of greater concern is that over two thirds of victims of crime are children and youth of 22 years of age and younger. The scenario should be deplored by every South African. Parliament urges young people, particularly young men, to be at the forefront of the fight to eradicate crimes against women and children.
The state regards violence against women and children as a serious human rights matter and has over the years passed a series of pieces of legislation that include: The Violence Against Women Act, Children's Act, Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, Domestics Violence Act, as well as Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act. More attention should be given to the execution of the Acts, educating and appropriately socializing the community to prevent the scourge facing the society today.
Parliament urges the youth to follow the 1976 generation by continuing to be forces for positive change in all aspects of the lives of all South Africans. This democracy, which the youth of 1976 sacrificed their lives for its realization, demands innovative young people to seek creative solutions to some of the socio-economic challenges faced by our country.
The youth of today, is also urged to continue to participate in democratic processes, hold those in power to account and to optimize the use of opportunities created by the democratic order. Parliament continues to encourage all sectors and role players in the South African economy, including government and the private sector, to ensure an inclusive economy that ensures the participation of the majority of South Africans, 70% of whom are young people.
The fact that the overwhelming majority of South Africans are young people, presents a unique opportunity to harness the youthful energy in transforming and growing the economy to eliminate inequality, poverty and unemployment . Parliament has ensured that needs of young people are mainstreamed in hundreds of pieces of transformative legislation passed since 1994, and is currently focusing on strengthening the efficacies of these pieces of legislation to ensure that the youth concretely experience the fruits of our liberation.
Parliament will be engaging with a wide range of young people on issues affecting them through an array of activities during this Youth Month. This will include giving feedback on the issues previously raised by young people during similar engagements.
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa