President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged the youth to work with the government in creating an inclusive economy that will rid South Africa of inequality, poverty and unemployment.
“There has to be life beyond COVID-19. We are looking forward to creativity, innovation and new ideas from young people and we want young people who are going to speak out and step forward,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa on Tuesday participated in an interactive panel session with young people as part of the virtual Youth Day commemorations. Youth Day pays tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto.
This year’s Youth Month coincides with the 30th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela and takes place under the theme: “Youth Power; Growing South Africa Together in the Period of COVID-19”.
The President challenged the youth to find opportunities post-COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is pregnant with opportunities so I am challenging young people to see that post-COVID-19 is a new platform. We need to set up different ways of running our economy, of the ownership of the economy and managing our economy and production.
“Technology is going to underpin nearly everything that we are going to do, this is ushering in a new digital society,” he said.
The President also encouraged young people to produce products.
“That is how we want to grow our economy, as a government we need to find those gems and invest in them. I want businesses to be helped and supported.
“I want change - agents, activists, young people who are progressive, young people who are deeply rooted in principles and values. Young people who will also build a country that will rid our country of gender-based-violence, xenophobia, young people who will be imbued with the spirit that we should have tolerance and respect for one another, for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community and disabled people in our communities must also be empowered,” he said.