• The Department of Social Development, in partnership with Mzansi Youth in Business, organised a Youth Dialogue in Mbali, Pietermaritzburg, on February 22, 2024, ahead of the Minister’s visit, where young participants stressed the need for government-established job opportunities for youth.
  • Young residents defined democracy, emphasising equality and rights for all, while underscoring pressing community needs such as housing and food.
  • Participants, including students like Ms Nelly Khumalo, voiced concerns about the insufficiency of student allowances and highlighted democracy’s positive impact, as discussed by Ms Neliswa Ntuli and Ms Maria Makhubele, among others. Mr. Moosa Magubane assured us that the raised issues will be addressed and forwarded for appropriate action.

Ahead of the Minister’s visit today, the department held dialogues in Mbali, Pietermaritzburg on the 22nd of February 2024. In the Youth Dialogue, organised by the Department of Social Development in partnership with Mzansi Youth in Business, young participants emphasise the necessity for the government to establish job opportunities and pathways for youth progress. Their concerns underscore the urgent requirement for employment solutions and prospects for young individuals nationwide.

Young persons were allowed to define democracy and how it has improved their lives. One of the young residents, Ms Zodwa Mseleku, from Ward 17, in Mbali township, said that democracy means that all persons, irrespective of where they come from, and the organisations they may be associated with, have equal rights to live and make choices which do not impede democratic rights of others.

Mr Ntando Zondi, another resident of Mbali, emphasised that necessities such as housing and food are pressing community needs that the country’s leadership must prioritise in a democratic government.

Mr. Isaac Mkhume stated that, in his view, democracy occurs when individuals with access to resources, power, and financial means oppress others and consider themselves more privileged than others.

Ms Nelly Khumalo, a young resident of Ward 17 in Mbali and a student at the University of South Africa, highlighted that she relies on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for her studies. She urged the government to raise student allowances, as the current amount is insufficient to cover expenses for the entire month.

Discussing the topic of democracy, Ms. Neliswa Ntuli, one of the parents participating in the dialogues, remarked that democracy has brought significant positive changes to the country. She pointed out that today, children can attend school, and some even have access to free education due to the democratic government. Ms Ntuli emphasised that in the past, women faced oppression and endured abuse, including gender-based violence. However, she expressed satisfaction with the current state, noting that women are now free to report abuse cases, and she appreciates the efforts of the democratic government in South Africa.

Another female parent, Ms Maria Makhubele, expressed the same sentiment;” “although more still needs to be done to address other challenges, including, substance abuse in the community, our government achieved in terms of improving our living conditions.”

In response to the issues raised by young individuals, Mr Moosa Magubane, Director responsible for Community Development at the Department of Social Development, assured that a report will be compiled based on the concerns voiced. Additionally, he mentioned that pertinent issues will be forwarded to other relevant departments and entities for further action and consideration.

“We are on the final stretch of the sixth democratic administration in our country. Hence, we are here to listen to you as communities, so that democracy can thrive as we work together with communities,” concluded Mr Magubane.


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