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The commemoration of Youth Day this year marks the 37th anniversary of the 16 June Soweto uprising and will be celebrated under the theme “Working together for youth development and a drug free South Africa”.

While the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of a democratic state, today’s youth activism is directed towards successfully tackling the challenges of poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, personal development and economic freedom.

The commemoration of Youth Day will be led by the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The main focus of Youth Month will be on the fight against substance abuse and youth development.

Alcohol and Substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking is a global phenomenon, and South Africa is no exception. This has serious implications for millions of South Africans because alcohol and substance abuse contributes to crime, gangsterism, domestic violence, family dysfunction and other social problems.

Moreover, it has been reported that drug abuse in South Africa is twice the world norm in most cases. In particular, youth have borne the brunt of abuse with the emergence of local drugs such as Nyaope and Kubar.

The South African government recognizes that the drug problem is complex and requires decisive and collective national action. Government has been at the forefront of fighting the scourge of substance abuse through various national initiatives and programmes. Given the seriousness of the situation, it has convened an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Substance Abuse and placed the response to substance abuse as the core mandate of the Central Drug Authority (CDA).

Government and its partners are also implementing the Anti-Substance National Plan of Action, which is a collective effort towards a South Africa that is free of drug abuse.  The plan focusses on enabling policy and legislation; supply reduction; demand reduction; harm reduction; and strengthening the role of civil society in this struggle.

Youth month will furthermore focus on job creation and youth empowerment. The call over the month will be on youth and all sectors of society to identify their roles in curbing the economic and social issues that youth face in the country.  A highlight of Youth Month 2013 will be the re-introduction of the National Imbizo Focus Week which will see Ministers and Deputy Ministers, led by the President and Deputy President and joined by Premiers, MECs, Mayors and Councillors, meeting with communities and stakeholder groups to mobilise our nation in the collective fight against substance abuse.  Imbizo Week will ensure heighten interaction between elected public representatives and South Africans from all walks of life in community meetings, door-to-door campaigns, national events, sports meetings and other direct engagements.

KEY MESSAGE

SUPPORTING STATEMENT

A drug free young generation is everyone's responsibility.

Government is committed to rid our society of substance abuse which is the cause of numerous social problems.

Government however needs the help of parents, civil society and faith-based organisations and communities in tackling this scourge.

We urge parents, relatives and other community structures to play a role in raising awareness and to provide support to those affected.

Communities are called on to report those involved in the trade of illegal substances so that we can fight and beat the scourge together.

Already there are 215 Local Drug Action Committees around the country that are assisting communities manage their own preventative work at grassroots level.

Stamping out substance abuse is receiving Government’s highest priority.

 

Substance abuse is receiving our highest response through the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Substance Abuse, which has proposed legislative reforms such as the banning of alcohol advertisements, increasing the age of alcohol consumption and zero-tolerance for drunk-driving.

Government and its partners are implementing the Anti-Substance National Plan of Action and National Drug Master Plan, which are part of our collective effort towards a South Africa that is free of drug abuse.

The Prevention of, and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act creates mechanisms for the combating of substance abuse through prevention, early intervention, treatment and re-integration programmes.

Through the Department of Social Development formal treatment is provided, including aftercare and reintegration.

The National Imbizo Focus Week will run from 10 – 17 June 2013 and will see Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Premiers. MECs, Mayors and Councillors engage with communities around the struggle against substance abuse.  The intention of this week is to scale up the national action plan against substance abuse, and by working together demonstrate an unwavering commitment to ensuring that substance abuse has no place in a democratic, free society.

Alcohol abuse can lead to drug abuse.

 

 

Alcohol abuse among young people is usually a gateway to the use of harmful substances.

Government appeals to primary care-givers to join us in our effort to alert young people to the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol poses a serious risk to young people’s health and well-being. It also significantly impacts their education performance.

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 years old to buy alcohol and it also an offence for young people to mislead an outlet about their age.

Government calls on all adults as role models to set a good example by drinking responsibly in front of children.

Youth are at the centre of our development as we set a path as a nation to Vision 2030.

South Africa needs a young generation that can contribute to the development of the country.

The National Development Plan (NDP), the country's vision for the next 20 years, singles out young people as key to the development of the country.

The NDP highlights that South Africa’s youthful population presents an opportunity to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty.

It also recognises that young people bear the brunt of unemployment and that ways to urgently reduce it and provide young people with broader opportunities must be sought.

It proposes the strengthening of youth service programmes and the introduction of new, community-based initiatives to offer young people life-skills training and entrepreneurship training.

Working together we are creating job opportunities for our youth.

The Social Accord on Youth Employment commits all stakeholders to implement a coordinated youth employment strategy, which is aimed at bringing a large number of young people into employment.

The Accord will help address the challenges of youth, and employment in general as part of the decent work agenda.

All Government departments will introduce focused internship programmes.

In the green economy sector at least 60% of the labour intake will be drawn from youth.

Government’s infrastructure programme will target at least 60% youth employment for new projects and activities.

It is only by standing together as a nation and fighting issues such as substance abuse, that the hard won freedoms of our liberation will be fully realised, including economic freedom.

Initiatives are already in place to bring youth into the economy.

Government has put measures in place to boost labour absorption among young people and to create an environment for economic growth that supports youth development over the long term.

A number of young people around the country are already enrolled in various training programmes under its National Rural Youth Services Corps (Narysec).

Through Narysec, rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country are being trained.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, which runs the Corps, is also planning to create nine Rural Youth Hubs per province, including in the 23 poorest districts in the country.

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) – which provides temporary work opportunities for the unemployed – insists that 40% of people employed on these projects must be youth.

The new Small Enterprise Funding Agency (SEFA) will make R1,7 billion available over the next five years for youth enterprises, with a target of R220 million in this financial year.

The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) announced a R1 billion Youth Fund to provide concessional lending to youth-owned enterprises that create jobs.

The Imbizo forms part of the interventions aimed at entrenching our democratic, developmental state through participatory democracy.  Active citizen participation was fundamental to the struggle for liberation leading to a democratic South Africa and above all is entrenched in the principles aiming to advance the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.  Through events such as National Imbizo Focus Week and the ongoing Izimbizo annually of members of Cabinet and Provincial and Local Executives, a wide range of issues, including issues of youth development and employment, can be addressed.

Izimbizo are complimented by visible, targeted and integrated service delivery drives like mobile units from Home Affairs, SASSA, door to door campaigns, information dissemination, walk-abouts and other development communication activities.  The Imbizo Programme also creates platforms and opportunities for civil society to participate actively in decision-making.