By Precious Mupenzi

  • Over 200 young people participated in a vibrant social development engagement at Rustenburg Kloof Resort in North West Province. The event, buzzing with youthful energy, featured discussions and networking opportunities focused on empowering young South Africans.
  • North West MEC for Social Development, Ms Basetsana Dantjie, emphasised the critical role youth played in both past and present struggles. She highlighted the importance of youth development for the nation’s future, outlining a six-point plan from the DSD Youth Policy 2021-2030.  This plan focuses on areas like skills development, economic participation, and well-being.
  • MEC Dantjie called for collaboration between public and private sectors to tackle socio-economic challenges. She concluded by quoting Nelson Mandela, urging the young delegates to embrace their pivotal role in shaping South Africa’s future.

The North West MEC of Social Development, Ms Basetsana Dantjie, joined the vibrant youth engagement currently underway at Rustenburg Kloof Resort in North West, as part of Youth Month commemoration. The event, buzzing with youthful energy, featured dynamic dialogues and panel discussions where young participants passionately engaged in deliberations, sharing their experiences and building valuable networks.

MEC Dantjie delivered a keynote address on behalf of Minister of Social Development, Ms Nokuzola Sisisi Tolashe, who could not attend due to other pressing engagements.

MEC Dantjie highlighted the critical role of youth in South Africa’s liberation and ongoing development and also underscoring the importance of youth development in the context of South Africa’s democratic achievements.

“Our democracy is characterised as one of the best by many countries globally. The youth must emulate the resilient character of this nation, which is about negotiation, dialogue, unity, and the improvement of people’s living conditions beyond political party lines,” she noted.

She emphasised that youth development is a dynamic process that transforms individuals, communities, and society.

“Amongst you, there are young women and men who have gifts and talents that are worth showcasing. We strive to identify these talents and take efforts to avail opportunities to exercise and enhance these gifts and talents to enable you to find sustainability in life,” she stated.

Highlighting the department’s comprehensive approach to addressing youth challenges, MEC Dantjie explained, “The Department of Social Development provides a basket of services and a variety of programmes aimed at advancing and empowering youth. This includes addressing holistic challenges such as unemployment, gender-based violence, substance abuse, social crime, victim empowerment, poverty, and teenage pregnancy.”

She outlined the six key priorities of the DSD Youth Policy 2021-2030, aimed at effective coordination of meaningful youth programmes:

1.⁠ ⁠Quality skills development, encouragement of second chances, and volunteerism.

2.⁠ ⁠Repositioning youth development in the social sector towards economic transformation, job creation, and entrepreneurship.

3.⁠ ⁠Psychosocial, mental, physical health, and well-being.

4.⁠ ⁠Active citizenry and social cohesion.

5.⁠ ⁠Mainstreaming and strengthening youth programmes across the social development sector.

6.⁠ ⁠Integrating and coordinating DSD priorities into youth programmes and activities.

MEC Dantjie called on both the private and public sectors to include youth in their plans to address socio-economic ills.

“I plead with both sectors to always include the youth in their plans for addressing poverty, unemployment, gender-based violence, and other social issues,” she urged.

In closing, she quoted Nelson Mandela, reminding the audience of the youth’s pivotal role in the nation’s future: “The youth of our country are the valued possession of the nation. Without them, there can be no future. Their needs are immense and urgent. They are at the centre of our reconstruction and development plan.”

The event at Rustenburg Kloof Resort showcases the DSD’s commitment to nurturing the next generation and ensuring their active participation in shaping a brighter future for South Africa. As the delegates engaged in sporting activities and dialogues, MEC Dantjie expressed hope that they would return to their provinces empowered to inspire and uplift their peers.

 “South Africa’s future is in your hands,” she concluded.

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