Speech by the Chairperson of the Steering Committee for Youth Parliament, Hon Mduduzi Manana, at the launch of Youth Parliament
7 Jun 2012
Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP
Members of the Steering Committee
Members of Parliament
Members of the media
Invited guests and friends
We are gathered here today to honour the 1976 martyrs who 36 years ago started protesting in Soweto on June 16, 1976 against a decree issued by the then education department that Afrikaans was to become a language of instruction in all schools.
The rioting soon spread from Soweto to other townships in the Witwatersrand, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town and developed into the largest outbreak of violence that South Africa has ever experienced. These were dedicated students who showed reckless disregard for their own safety in order to vent their frustrations against the evil system of apartheid.
Former President of the African National Congress, OR Tambo concluded and said "there is no vocabulary to describe the nobility and the pathos of the conscious sacrifices that the black youth of South Africa have made to free themselves, their people and the country from forces determined to keep us forever the chattels".
Thirty six (36) years later, history imposes on us today the duty to occupy the forward trenches in the final assault of poverty, unemployment and ignorance. It is for this reason that our theme this year is "education and learning address youth unemployment, poverty and inequality". This theme speaks to the importance that parliament places on the involvement of the youth in parliament's work of law-making, oversight and using the institution as a forum for public consideration on issues national interest and concern.
Parliament has commemorated youth month in a variety of ways since the advent of democracy in our country. This exercise aims to use parliament as a fora of young people to engage on robust discussions in the final attempt to fight the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Today marks the beginning of the youth month in parliament which activities will include:
1. A debate in Parliament's National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on 8 June 2012.
2. A debate in Parliament's National Assembly (NA) on 14 June 2012.
3. The hosting of the Youth Parliament in the Old Assembly Chamber on 21 June 2012 to which youth from all provinces representing the different sectors, Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers will engage on key issues affecting the youth of our country.
The executive have the responsibility to ensure that all the resolutions emanating from the discussions are streamlined in the respective departments. The huge deficit of skilled youth continue to hamper our nation's development and therefore education becomes a tool that can maximise our full potential in becoming partners in our country's development process. It is through education that we can fight these triple challenges and build a solid foundation a future leaders of our nation.
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa
7 Jun 2012
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