Johannesburg – Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, says a new agenda is needed to fight youth challenges over the next five years.

Deputy Minister Manamela was speaking at the New Age Business Briefing at Fourways, on Monday morning.

He said a lot of lessons have been drawn over the past five years and that going forward, all hands must be on deck, and all sectors of society should join government in helping young people receive quality education and training in order to help them become entrepreneurs and create jobs.

He said this as the country celebrated Youth Month under the theme, “Youth Moving South Africa Forward”, through various youth events and programme launches around the country.

“Over the next few months, we will be listening to young people in townships, workplaces, sports fields, universities and schools and every corner of the country on what the priorities for young people should be.

“Before us, there are proposals to amend the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Act in order to optimise its ability to facilitate, coordinate and mainstream youth development issues.

“The current board has worked on turning around the current perceptions about the NYDA and make sure that it becomes an institution that young people can rely on,” he said.

He also said to ensure that the NYDA becomes the catalyst for dreams of young people, the National Youth Policy of 2008 has also been placed under review and progress made since 2008 would be placed under the microscope. He said this will also be used to develop a new youth agenda for youth development.

“This new youth development agenda will be premised on three critical areas: education, employment and entrepreneurship, what we refer to as the ‘triple Es’.

“Through this, we will be working together with various government departments, business, civil society and youth organisations to ultimately deal with unemployment, poverty and inequalities.

“No matter our differences about the National Development Plan, it helps us move South Africa forward and bring common prosperity and build a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society,” he said.

The Deputy Minister also said the new agenda would help with government’s campaign against alcohol and drug abuse, and that through educational and training programmes, efforts will be put on keeping young people out of the streets and out of trouble.

Yershen Pillay, the chairperson of the NYDA, said the “new agenda” that Deputy Minister Manamela announced would be advanced through mainstreaming youth opportunities, where government is being lobbied to set aside youth programmes that will support youth work.

He said lessons were made over the past five years and that the agency has made great strides and reached millions of young people.

He said South Africa was a youthful country with approximately 21.7 million young people, adding that people should not expect one entity [NYDA] to champion youth development on its own.

“The real focus now, as the Deputy Minister mentioned, is a new agenda for youth development, a new programme, one that is multi-pronged, one that puts young people at the forefront leading the way and supporting them,” he said