For Immediate release
16th June 2022
SATAWU COMMEMORATES YOUTH DAY
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) joins millions of South Africans to commemorate the 46th Anniversary of the Soweto uprising and salutes the generation of 1976.It is indeed one of the most important dates in South African history.
The uprising tragically ended with hundreds of young people killed by the apartheid government when they protested against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. On this day we remember those heroes and brave young people. South Africa is today a better country because of their braveness and courage.
This is a very painful history of our country, however this year SATAWU wants to commemorate the anniversary to advance, better and empower Young People, young women and young workers, in general, located in all sectors organised by the union.
Assessing the path from the historical events of, amongst others, the 1976 uprisings, there is much to be said in the way of analysis as well as critique. There was much hope and jubilation, following the political transition into a post-apartheid economy, where the fortunes of the majority black population would change. However, and rather disappointingly so, this has not been the case.
The South African economy continues to experience immense structural weaknesses insofar as its political economy is concerned. This has disproportionately affected the youth, as well as their families and communities from which they emanate. The neoliberal, orthodox macroeconomic stance, taken rather persistently by the state, has left little to be desired in terms of creating an economy where decent, living-wage employment are generated.
The working-class movement, has overtime, become youthful in character, given that the South African population is young relative to other countries. The labour movement in the latter years of apartheid, was spurred on by the heroic and unprecedented efforts of the youth. This was at a time when the anti-apartheid movement was largely subdued by the overzealous use of force, on the part of the National Party-led state. This ought to highlight the importance and potential of the youth in having a meaningful, and long-term impact on society as a whole.
This year’s Youth Day is being commemorated at a time when the country is battling with Gender Based Violence. Where women and Children are being killed and raped daily. We the Union of Workers saying enough is enough. It is now the right time for this country and young people in particular to unite and fight against this GBV Pandemic. Young People can fight GBV and South Africa can be a GBV free country.
We also say it is now the right time to deal with those individuals who think they are superior at workplaces, those who are abusing and sexually harassing young women in particular and asking for sexual favours in return for jobs and higher positions.
The sexual exploitation of young women must be addressed and drastically dealt with. Young women are human too, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
The struggles of the youth from the former generation, as well as their aspirations, seemed to have fallen far short of being achieved at the present state. Unemployment, poverty and inequality continue to plague the youth, most of whom, come from working-class families. Despite the high level of education and skills that many young people achieve, most remain destitute and cannot lift their families out of the clutches of poverty because of continued economic exclusion.
The fact that this Year’s Youth Day celebration marks exactly 46 years of the Soweto uprising and a South African black child still continues to receive poor education and training, compared to a white child simple means we have a crisis in our education systems, we call on our government to deal with educational inequality.
The educational system must develop a decentralization of where government department were closely with programs like SETAs and TVET colleges are working in equipping learners with a necessary skills and abilities in developing their sectoral and local sectors.
Another major issue that we are dealing with in our country is the high rate of Youth Unemployment, however, we wish to acknowledge the work that has been done by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in so far. The NYDA has been very effective in funding South African young entrepreneurs and small black owned businesses, but a lot still needs to be done.
Young people are the future of this country, they must all be empowered in their different respective skills and talent and that will help the country boost its economy.
SATAWU says young people of this country be given an opportunity to lead and take charge in critical positions in all the sectors especially in the economic sector, in government and in Private sectors. SATAWU equally calls for young people to lead in social and in political spaces.
We are also facing drugs and alcohol abuse by young people. This is a national crisis, we therefore, call on everyone to work with our government to fight drugs and alcohol abuse. We commend our government for having adopted the National Drugs Master Plan as one of its plans to fights against drugs abuse. However, with the slow implementation of initiative it reproduces dehumanisation and oppresses the youth in question.
SATAWU calls on young people of this country to follow on the footsteps of the 1976 generation to fight hunger, poverty, inequality, and economic deprivation. Young people must stand up and demand for what is due to them.
The struggle continues.
Issued by SATAWU
General Secretary Cde Jack Mzibuko : 082 660 47 93
Deputy General Secretary Cde Anele Kiet : 071 021 1903
Head Of Communications Amanda Tshemese : 062 945 7217