YOUNG people have urged government youth development agencies to aid start-up businesses with funding and mentorship programmes, to help them grow into mainstream enterprises.
They made this plea at the first public consultation on the Gauteng City Region’s development strategy, Vision 2055. It was held at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein, on Tuesday, 12 June.
In observation of Youth Month, young people were given first go in making submissions and recommendations on the discussion document, which was launched in May. The consultation, facilitated by the City of Joburg’s youth directorate, Gauteng Planning Commission and Gauteng Youth Desk, was attended by a greater number of unemployed youth from across the province.
They were divided into a number of smaller groups to engage with the vision. Speaking for the equitable growth cluster, Jeff Makwakwa, a small business owner, stressed that youth development agencies should operate closer to where youth businesses were located. “We want to see agencies like the National Youth Development Agency and Seta in the townships, where a lot of us are based.
“A lot of small business owners do not have information on how best to market and grow their businesses and this is the reason why they fail. Mentorship and skills training programmes will help business owners to grow their businesses,” he said.
Jeff Makwakwa a small business owner from Meadowlands Jeff Makwakwa a small business owner from Meadowlands Bafana Dube, who works in youth development programmes in Ward 40, said the government should allow young people to register businesses at no cost. “The cost involved in registering a business is too expensive for poor black youth,” he said in support of his call.
Organisations responsible for registering small businesses were located faraway, he added, and the cost of transport became unaffordable. Suggesting a solution, he said the government should build one-stop youth development centres closer to where they were needed the most. “We need one-stop centres in townships, where everything needed to register a business is available.”
Agencies including South African Revenue Services must have offices in these proposed centres. “Everything that speaks to youth development must be found in such centres.” Dube also encouraged young people to form co-operatives. “The only way that we are going to get government assistance is through organisation,” he said. “Let’s organise ourselves as young people.”
Mpho Moeno, an intern who works in youth development programmes in the provincial department of education, said the government should find a way of placing young people who had completed internships into full-time employment. “It does not help [to train] people and [then] release them back on to the streets. The level of unemployment keeps going up.”
He said private companies must be compelled to do the same. Youth-owned businesses must be prioritised in doing business with the government. Moeno condemned the awarding of government tenders to big companies.
Other discussion groups at the session included social cohesion and inclusivity, sustainable development and infrastructure, and good governance. For the social cohesion and inclusivity cluster, the main issue was that the government must create more jobs for disabled people in the formal working sector, and invest more in their sporting actives.
governanceIn the sustainable development and infrastructure cluster, a call was made for an integrated transport system to accommodate the ever-growing population. Participants also urged the government to build more higher education institutions. Gauteng was overpopulated and there were not enough universities, colleges and further education and training facilities to handle the pressure.
They also called on the government to build proper houses in township like Alexandra, as a measure of regulating the overpopulation. They reasoned that people migrating from rural areas and foreign countries built shacks on reserved land without applying to the council.
In the good governance cluster, issues discussed included ward councillors who were not doing their jobs effectively. The group called the government to employ qualified people.
Various officials attended the consultation, including Steve Mamphekgo, the manager of youth development mainstreaming in the Office of the Premier; Khulu Mase, the deputy director -general of youth development in the Office of the Premier; and, Nalini Naicker, the project manager of Gauteng 2055.
The Gauteng City Region’s long-term development plan, called Gauteng Vision 2055, was released on 24 May. Residents have been urged to make submissions on the discussion document (G2055) through various public participation forums headed by the Gauteng Planning Commission. Consultations will run until November.
The full discussion document as well as an abridged version is available to the public at the Gauteng provincial government offices on the corner of Simmonds and Fox streets, Johannesburg. It can also be downloaded from the G2055 website. Comments can be made online, via Facebook and Twitter: @G2055vision or email G2055@gauteng.gov.za.
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