Ramaphosa engages young people as he takes part in dance challenge before Sona

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Feb 7, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa loosened up and took part in a “Water” by Tyla dance challenge before getting down to youth business ahead of his much-anticipated State of the Nation address (Sona).

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa held a pre-Sona engagement with young people at the Belhar Sports Complex in Cape Town.

He congratulated the Grammy award-winning Tyla on her big achievement this week.

“My spirit was raised so much today as I spent time engaging with young people – including a video call with Tyla, our Grammy-winning performer and songwriter who celebrated her 22nd birthday less than a week ago. I shared with her my pride and that of the nation at her achievement of the Grammy for Best African Music Performance …Well done again, Tyla,” he said.

The president’s office said the engagement was aimed at taking stock, together with the youth, of the past three years since the commencement of the Presidential Employment Stimulus and Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI).

The president assured young people that his government would not stop its efforts to ensure that they were equipped with skills and employment opportunities.

Ramaphosa said there were two programmes that been a success and created more than 1.7 million job opportunities and provided livelihood support, which had predominantly benefited the youth.

He said that upon taking office, his administration had taken a bold decision to “focus on young people” due to the high rates of unemployment among the youth.

“We are going to craft many programmes and as many as we can. We did so because we wanted to give young people an opportunity to start off with their lives.“

Ramaphosa said that in spite of challenges facing young people, he was “rather pleased that we have set up this Youth Employment Service, where we have said to the private sector: take young people and give them a life chance opportunity by getting them to learn on the job. But we went further and we set up the PYEI, which has opened up enormous opportunities”.

He said interventions made in higher education through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and other interventions had made it possible for young people to attain tertiary education and gains the much-needed skills to contribute to the economy.

“We focused on higher education, (where) … today, (the) NSFAS supports 1.2 million young people. I know of no country on the African continent that does so.”

The president said more effort was needed to create jobs for young graduates who had benefited from access to higher education through the NSFAS and other opportunities.

“This is what led to the conceptualisation of all these (employment) programmes. We rely on the private sector to create jobs but they are not creating jobs fast enough, so government had to step in to create those job opportunities.

“The vision is to make sure that we prepare the future of South Africa through educating, through skilling and then creating job opportunities for these young people.”

The Star

[email protected]