The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) welcomes the State of the Nation Address as delivered by the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa, on the 13th of February 2020 in Parliament. The State of the Nation Address has responded to the demands of the YCLSA on education, jobs for youth and the economy.
The YCLSA is the only organization in the country which called on the President of the Republic of South Africa prior the State of the Nation Address to pronounce a new university and the reopening of colleges of specialization. Even though the President has not pronounced on the reopening of colleges of specialization, the government articulated a clear plan to expand the number of TVET colleges in the country and the construction of a new university.
The YCLSA will engage the Progressive Youth Alliance and other stakeholders in the higher education sector to advance the call for the expansion on the number of qualifications offered in TVET colleges to increase the capacity of TVET colleges and to avoid the overproduction of existing qualifications. TVETs should respond to the local economic needs of areas where they are situated.
The President equally stressed concerns on the state of the economy and government debt. Amongst other reasons, the concern on the state of the economy and government debt vindicates the position of the YCLSA that the private sector should fund higher education in the same manner in which the National Skills Fund is financed. It is the private sector that benefits from the skills and qualifications produced by the higher education system. The government should find mechanisms to equally tax the rich to fund the education of the poor.
Young people continue to sleep in libraries as the question on student accommodation remains unresolved. The YCLSA welcomes the government decision to spend R64 billion in building student accommodation. Infrastructure spending on education should be a priority of a democratic government which invest in its youth.
On Jobs for Youth
The YCLSA welcomes the decisive resolution by the government to spend 1% of the total budget on youth employment. This means that each govern ent department is required to spend at least 1% of the total budget on employment for young people. Much as this resolution is necessary, the YCLSA will await the budget speech and departmental budget votes to assess how this resolution will be of great benefit for young people. We reiterate our call that young people should not only be considered for employment when it comes to internships and learnerships.
We are however disappointed that the government does not consider the potential of youth cooperatives in assisting the South African economy. Monopolized sectors such as the forestry sector of our economy requires decisive policy action to enable youth cooperatives to play a role in demonopolizing the sector. The YCLSA will continue to engage government to fund youth cooperatives for equal participation in strategic sectors.
We are equally disappointed that the government failed to update the country on the progress of both the Youth Wage Subsidy and the Youth Employment Scheme. These are initiatives that were introduced by the government to fund the private sector to create employment for young people. The private should be held accountable and cannot be given space to benefit from the struggles of young people.
On Gender-Based Violence
The YCLSA welcomes the commitment by government to wage a war against gender-based violence. We equally welcome the efforts by the state to initiate processes aimed at courts that will only deal with gender related crimes and provide support to victims of this scourge.
We equally applaud the government on the anticipated summit on safety and security in higher education institutions. In the past seven days, South Africans have witnessed the brutal killings of two students, one from a TVET college in Limpopo and the other from a university in the Eastern Cape
Issued by the YCLSA
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