Debate by: MJ Mazibuko; IFP MPL
Thursday, 05 September 2019
KwaZulu-Natal Legislature; Pietermaritzburg
Inkatha Freedom Party fully agrees with the observation in this ANC Motion tabled by Hon. MC Fraser that young people are the most dominant group in South Africa and that they face the challenge of unemployment.
What troubles us however is that seemingly the ruling party is oblivious to the fact that this situation is a time-bomb. If the ruling party was aware, we would not be debating the Motion which talks us about “opportunities that were unpacked by the Department of Public Works in uGu District,” which “will empower, develop and enable young people to realize economic freedom in their lifetime” We would not be debating the Motion which calls for Hon. Members to “commend the Department of Public Works and the MEC…for hosting a successful Youth in Construction and Property summit.”
Hon. Speaker; the public protests that have become the order of the day in our country; tragic disturbances that included the looting of businesses in Gauteng, the burning down of trucks in this Province and the escalating levels of crime; tell us that government has no time now to convene summits and unpack opportunities.
Hon. Speaker; while we acknowledge that Hon. MEC Peggy Nkonyeni is new in this Department, we know that the Department itself is not new. We also applaud her for the commitments to the youth.
However, as we say, this Department is not new. Consequently, the Department must have taken the MEC through Departmental records which show that there have been similar summits before and Youth Parliaments. In those forums the youth have chronicled the problems they face in the construction industry. They must have accounted to the MEC of programs that are running now to address these problems. Because it is late now for the Department – just like the whole government – to engage in fact-finding exercises. The MEC and her colleagues in government are expected to hit-the-ground running if we are to save KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa from the edge of the precipice!
Hon. Speaker; South Africa, and by extension the ruling party, is known for conferencing and policy-making. It is known too for failing to implement resolutions of those conferences and policies. We do not have that luxury now. Lest you think that this is our fabrication, listen to Mr. Malusi Zondi of KwaMashu, a Member of the ANCYL as quoted by Citizen of 21 September 2018:
The ANC doesn’t have a mechanism to achieve radical economic transformation, Zondi says. It is just talk. Self-enrichment, he says.
If they don’t move on including disadvantaged people in the economy it means whites will be killed, he says.
“We have told them about Marikana …” he says…
(https://citizen.co.za › news › south-africa › we-are-prepared-to-die-for-…
We are prepared to die for radical economic transformation – The Citizen)
Major hurdles that frustrate the youth in this industry are known. Some of them are the domination of old males, fraud, corruption and nepotism. The challenge is for government to eradicate these stumbling blocks. Lomi Mokoka agrees with our assessment as she says the following, according to the Sowetan of 6 June 2018:
There are many government projects that are meant to make people’s lives better that suffer terrible delays because of shambolic project management and corruption. Even worse, there are many projects that are not completed within the original budgets allocated to them or not even finished for that matter”
(https://www.pressreader.com › south-africa ›; Sowetan: 2018-06-26 – Youth in construction)
She goes on to say:
One could write a book about what corruption and bribery has done to the (construction) industry and the economy as a whole but for now I’ll just say it has crippled many young businesses (Ibid)
As long as these hurdles remain, the IFP will find it difficult to commend the Department for the Summit. For the record, we are ready to commend the MEC and her Department for actions they will take to ensure that resolutions of several summits and policies meant to address of the youth are implemented without delay and with the tenacity of a limpet. Having worked with the Hon. MEC in this Legislature, we know that she possesses that tenacity of a limpet. The question is whether or not the organization which deployed her here will be ready to stand with her as she executes this mandate.
Hon. Speaker, indeed we will commend the MEC and her Department the day they report on the following:
- The number of Youth companies registered on the Department’s database
- The number of business opportunities these companies have benefitted from the Department’s projects
- The capacity-building and mentoring opportunities for youth-led businesses
- Whether there is a clear government-and-private sector partnership programs that benefit the youth
- The number of youth who have benefitted from departmental bursaries to pursue studies in the field of construction
- The programs geared towards empowering out-of-school youth with skills development, career development and entrepreneurship
The Construction industry does have the potential to play a significant role in rescuing our youth from the clutches of unemployment, hopelessness and anger. The key is whether there is a political will, the sense of urgency and stamina on the part of government and the private sector to pursue this path.
As the IFP, we will always be ready to offer our patriotic hand in programs to uplift our Province.