DA KZN: Today’s government is still failing our youth
21 June 2016
The last few days have been a good opportunity for the people of our country to reflect upon the actions of the 1976 student generation some 40 years ago. This was a courageous group of students who knew that they would have to shape their own destiny in the midst of an oppressive and illegitimate regime.
On the 15th June 2016, I took time to personally visit my own former schools, Mtunzini Primary School and Northwood High School, and to reflect upon the opportunities and changes in my own life as a result of that generations’ actions.
My parents were both the product of Bantu education and the apartheid system. My father grew up in the rural setting of eDuku Duku and my mother came from a working class family in eClaremont. Both became teachers of business studies and were very successful early on in their business careers, also teaching for a short time.
My family moved from a township, to a town and then to the suburbs as did my brothers and my schooling. This fundamentally changed our entire life and family trajectory.
The truth is, my family’s trajectory is the exception and not the norm. It is in spite of the apartheid regime.
Today we have a democratically elected government which is tasked with looking out for the interests of all South Africans. Yet young South Africans still legitimately feel like their government works against them, and not for them.
A black child growing up in Duku Duku today in one of Hon Dlungwane’s schools is still likely to see his children grow up under the same circumstances.
The education system provided today is the biggest failure of the ANC government. The fact is, it has destroyed an entire generation of young people and their future prospects. It has done so by choosing SADTU over learners and by protecting unions instead of holding them accountable in a way that seeks to change the lives of an entire generation.
Where government should be investing more in higher education and NASFAS, it instead invests in perks for the political elite thereby frustrating young people and forcing them to re-enact the 1976 generation to defend what is their basic constitutional right.
Then there are those who simply fall through the cracks as a result of too few social workers. This government should be employing at least three times more social workers than it does. This is what the DA has done where it governs.
Former Premier, Zweli Mkhize, promised several years ago to implement a youth wage subsidy in KZN. That government has turned its back on that promise shows that it is not serious about bringing in young people into the mainstream economy – crippled by the tripartite alliance.
Add to this the ANC government’s policy confusion which has done little to create jobs, locking young people and women in particular out the economy. A recent Stats SA non-financial report points out that the ANC-led administration employs 3, 4 and sometimes 5 times more men in government than women across all levels. They are punishing young black woman.
It is hardly surprising that we now find ourselves with young people that have a growing frustration with an ANC government which is unwilling and unable to change their lives for the better. An ANC that is pre-occupied with holding itself together as the glue of corruption, patronage and power comes unstuck.
It doesn’t have to be this way. And it will change every day as the DA removes the ANC from power across this country.
Unlike the ANC, we will use government to make sure that my own family story, becomes the norm rather than the exception.
Issued by Hlangani Gumbi, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature, 21 June 2016