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Youth must be the focus of the 7th Administration, says ANCYL’s Collen Malatji

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Johnathan Paoli

THE African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has applauded the party’s “strategic and inclusive” approach in forming a government of national unity (GNU), but said the new government must advocate for the rights and interests of the youth.

ANCYL President Collen Malatji said the league would not compromise on policies that are critical in advancing the National Democratic Revolution such as the proposed reform of NSFAS into a tiered bursary and loan system.

“The fight for democracy in South Africa was long and difficult, marked by immense sacrifices and struggles. We will not allow any regression or the implementation of policies that undermine the hard-won gains of our democracy,” Malatji said.

Malatji said that while the league was prepared to work with all parties, including the DA, their commitment to progressive policies remained unwavering and expected the GNU to focus on issues which are critical to the youth, such unemployment, higher education, crime and drug abuse.

He commended South Africans for their participation and support in the recent national and provincial elections, especially the youth, and praised the increased inclusion of young people in Parliament.

“This is a positive step towards ensuring that our leadership reflects the demographics of our society, where the youth form a substantial part,” he said, and confirmed that 14 of the ANCYL’s national executive committee members are now in Parliament, with others serving in provincial legislatures.

The President announced the league’s pride at two of its leadership attaining positions, namely the Eastern Cape Provincial Chair, Vuyo Jali, appointed as Deputy Speaker of the legislature; and Limpopo Provincial Chair Tonny Rachoene who was appointed MEC of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure.

Malatji said despite the small gains, the ANCYL is calling for the appointment of young people as ministers and deputy ministers by president Cyril Ramaphosa and as MECs by the premiers and in the light of the 7th administration’s imminent commencement, the league would advocate for several key areas.

In terms of the economy, the ANCYL called for the advance of industrialization and future industries while protecting existing ones; invest in large-scale infrastructure and fix energy, transport, and logistics; and support small businesses and Black industrialists and accelerate land reform.

He called for the creation of 2.5 million work opportunities through the Presidential Employment Stimulus and the promotion of employment equity for Black people, women, and persons with disabilities.

Corruption would be tackled, he said, through the strengthening of law enforcement and anti-corruption bodies, the establishment of a permanent Investigating Directorate with expanded powers; and enhanced accountability through audits, vetting and public awareness campaigns.

In relation to education, Malatji called for ensuring universal access to quality early child development by 2030; the promotion of a culture of reading, numeracy and technological skills; and the expansion of skills development in emerging fields and improving post-school education, vocational training and digital learning opportunities.

He said the party should deploy public servants who delivered services to the people in order to recover the confidence of the nation.

Speaking on the GNU, Malatji rejected claims that the DA was running the coalition, and said any party that was not happy with the GNU was more than welcome to leave.

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