Having worked tirelessly since his announcement last year of a five-point emergency plan to put a halt to gender-based violence during an extraordinary joint sitting of Parliament, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced that his administration has been able to raise more than R1 billion towards the cause.
“Since we announced the National Emergency Response Plan to combat GBVF [gender-based violence and femicide] last year, we have mobilised over R1 billion to fund a number of initiatives to support survivors and to expand access to care and treatment,” said Ramaphosa.
He was speaking to an audience of mostly young South Africans at the pre-state of the nation address (Sona) youth dialogue which was hosted by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
South Africa has been battling a scourge of violence with the police ministry recently announcing that there are 144 sexual offenses committed daily, including rape.
According to the ministry’s 2018/19 statistics, sexual offences increased by 4.6% from 2018/18, bringing the total number of recorded cases to 52 420.
As a result, Ramaphosa said it was time to deal decisively with the scourge.
Also in attendance were Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande, Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, as well as the Minister of Small Business Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
We need to introduce subjects like Technical Mathematics, Maritime Studies, Aviation Studies, and others
President Cyril Ramaphosa
The president also addressed youth unemployment which currently stands at a staggering 40.1%.
This means that 8.2 million of South Africa’s 20.4 million young people aged 15 to 34 are unemployed and are not currently studying or training, according to the latest figures released by Statistics SA in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey.
Ramaphosa said doing away with youth unemployment was an important step to improving the country’s ailing economy and one of the ways of achieving this was by slashing work experience requirements when they were not needed.
“Of the approximately 1.2 million young people entering the labour market each year, almost two-thirds remain outside of employment, education or training. Addressing youth unemployment remains my foremost priority, and this is something I want to reiterate here today.”
One of his suggestions was to redesign the high schoolm, so that it is in tune with the skills which are needed in the country.
“We need to introduce subjects like Technical Mathematics, Maritime Studies, Aviation Studies, and others. This is being done to align the educational curriculum with the skills needed by our economy,” he said.
The president then explained that the government had expanded their budget to poor and “missing middle” students to ensure that more young people get the opportunity to further their education.
“We discussed the urgent issue of access to higher education for students from low-income families [during last year’s dialogue]. I am pleased to report that we have expanded our funding for free higher education for poor and working class students from R11.2 billion in 2016 to R35 billion in 2020,” he said.
Ramaphosa will deliver his fourth official state of the nation address on Thursday.
Two years ago, he kicked off the supposed “new dawn” by wooing South Africans with his famous “Thuma Mina” Sona speech.