Speeches

Address by Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agecy (NYDA), Mr Sifiso Mtsweni during the 40th Commeration of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Gala Dinner, Freedom Park, Pretoria, Wednesday, 05 April 2019

ADDRESS BY EXECUTIVE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NYDA), MR SIFISO MTSWENI DURING THE ON 40th COMMEMORATION OF SOLOMON KALUSHI MAHLANGU GALA DINNER, FREEDOM PARK, PRETORIA, WEDNESDAY, 05 APRIL 2019

Programme Director, Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Thabang Makwetla,
Executive Deputy Chairperson of the NYDA, MS Bavelile Hlongwa
Members of the board of the National Youth Development Agency,
Chairperson of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Foundation, Mr Gideon Mahlangu,
Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Council (NHC), Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa,
Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Mr Waseem Carrim,
African National Congress Youth League National Executive Committee led by the Secretary-General, Comrade Njabulo Nzuza,
ANCYL Provincial leadership, present here today,
Family members of the Mahlangu Family,
The Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Fund Students and Graduates,
Members of the Media,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Dear Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu

I wish to address you through the National Youth Development Agency, a government agency tasked with spearheading the development of the youth of this country you dearly sacrificed for with your blood. The Agency under the auspices of the current government which took over after you fought until the last drop of your blood, established an arm which focuses on young people. Since its inception in 2009, the Agency has assisted mant y young people through it’s products and services.

It was under the same Agency that we sought to established your Scholarship Fund named after you, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Fund (SKMSF). The SKMSF emerged out of the idea of embracing Kalushi, as a symbol of bravery, martyrdom, and source of inspiration to reaping the fruits of Freedom by working towards a better future for youth.

Knowing that you had a desire to become a teacher, the preserving of your legacy through the provision of free education to students from poor and working-class background became prudent. We wish to report to you, that the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has successfully run this programme for the past 5 years. We are today gathered here in celebration of the success of your scholarship fund and we are further showcasing some of the most outstanding and high-performance beneficiaries.

Since your scholarship was established, it has benefitted students across various fields of study including law, commerce, engineering, agriculture, information technology, natural sciences, etc. The SKMSF has identified the key field of studies that contribute much in the economic development of the country which will afford youth economic opportunities. We further confirm tonight that the SKMSF has educated over five hundred (500) youth across the country, studying in various public universities and universities of technologies.

It is also important to mention that establishment of SKMSF by NYDA is part of executing its constitutional obligation which, amongst is to provide education opportunities for the youth from the rural areas of academic excellence who are unable to afford to further their studies at a tertiary level. The main beneficiaries are youth from rural and under-developed areas, including townships.

Kalushi, we wish to report to you that our generation heeded your call to continue to fight as your rightfully said so. We fought many battles – others successfully and we lost on others – but we continue to wedge the fight. As young people, we are proud to carry your legacy forward. We effortlessly fought for the fee-free quality public higher education. Our current government has rolled out its first phase of free education benefiting household earning below R350 000 per annum.

We further commit through the Agency of young that in the next five years, your scholarship fund will be make the following amendments:

- NYDA will continue to support students on the programme as the new policy applied to first-year students.

- New applicants would be in the sectors of post-graduate studies given a low number of youth black postgraduates students and the need to create more research.

- New applications would also be in the sector of creative arts given the importance of this sector in the National Development Plan and its lack of coverage with the free education policy.

- Applicants would also be considered for artisan training not otherwise covered by higher education.

We continue to affirm your call that ‘your blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom’, the struggle is far from over. Young people of this country have successfully fought for the scrapping of experience for entry-level jobs in public service. This resounding victory further confirms that we have continued to fight as you said.

Kalushi, on Wednesday we gathered at your family home to make pronouncements on various undertaking taken by different government departments and agencies in celebrating your immense contribution to the struggle against apartheid. Among those that we are publicly announced on the day, is the grading of your family home to heritage site by South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA). This decision has brought jubilation and renewed hope for young people, came at the right as the country has entered into a New Dawn under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Kalushi, your blood has indeed given birth to many Solomons. Your scholarship fund continues to marvel the country with the caliber of young people it produces. All these wonderful graduates it has produced, are ready to exercise their rights to vote in the next general elections after the National Youth Service embarked on the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Voter Registration and Education Campaign (VREC) Programme in the last leg of registration in January.

Together with NYDA and IEC, the NYS set a target of one million eligible young voters across all high schools, universities and TVET colleges. Under the rejuvenated spirit of Thuma Mina, we ensured that a lot of young people go out in their numbers to register to vote in the upcoming national general elections, on 8 May 2019. We must also encourage all young to come out in numbers and exercise their right to vote.

We did so in clear demonstration that we are the custodian of the freedom you and other revolutionary fighters brought for us. As an esteemed member of the Order of Mendi for Bravery, you will remain alive in our minds and hearts. In the words of the later former President of the African National Congress (ANC), Oliver Tambo where he immortalised you during his speech in Asia and he said:

“..In his brief but full life Solomon Mahlangu towered like a colossus, unbroken and unbreakable, over the fascist lair. He, on whom our people have bestowed accolades worthy of the hero-combatant that he is, has been hanged in Pretoria like a common murderer. Alone the hangmen buried Solomon, bound by a forbidding oath that his grave shall remain forever a secret, because, in his death the spirit of Solomon Mahlangu towers still like a colossus, unbroken and unbreakable, over the fascist lair”

Your death, Kalushi, was indeed not in vain. We will continue to fight for the full liberation of young people to emulate your brevity and selfless leadership. To the graduates and students under the auspices of the SKMSF, shape your personal development to be exactly what Kalushi had in mind, history will not absolve you.

I thank you.

Executive Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni: Briefing on 40th Commemoration of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu

Executive Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni: Briefing on 40th Commemoration of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu

3 Apr 2019

Statement by Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Mr Sifiso Mtsweni during the media briefing with the Department of Arts and Culture and National Heritage Council (NHC) on 40th Commemoration of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu

Honourable Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa,
Executive Deputy Chairperson of the NYDA, MS Bavelile Hlongwa
Chairperson of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Foundation, Mr Gideon Mahlangu,
Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Council (NHC), Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa,
Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Mr Waseem Carrim,
Members of the Media,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

The history of South Africa’s freedom and democracy tells a story of a committed youth in the fight against apartheid. Many young people played a significant yet prominent role in the realisation of a free, non-sexist non-racial, democratic and prosperous country.

The 16th of June 1976, being the hallmark and synthesis of the youth revolt in the country, young people were already at the centre of fighting for freedom much earlier before the eventful day.

We gather a few days before the world remembers Solomon Mahlangu, affectionately known as Kalushi.

A fearless revolutionary who met his death under the brutal apartheid regime. Unlike the many mortals, Kalushi had zero fear for his execution by hanging such that he uttered the infamous words to his Mother, late Mama Esther Mahlangu at the gallows and said:

“My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight”

The month of April is a painful reminder of the loss of Mother of the Nation, Mama Winfred Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela. Explained by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa during the occasion of her official funeral that “In death, she has demonstrated that our political party and racial lines and the numerous disputes we may have are eclipsed by our shared desire to follow her lead in building a just, equitable and caring society”.

It is Mama’s teachings that we as the youth, must emulate in our daily lives. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) says no to xenophic attacks, because Mama Mandela believed that “South Africans should know their history and where they come from, by knowing that they will be aware that they are Africans first and they should treat their fellow African as brother and sisters well”.

Honourable Minister, as South Africa marks 25 years since of freedom, it has been our preoccupation as the NYDA to place at the centre of youth development a deliberate preservation of our history and appreciation of the role played by youth during the struggle for democracy and freedom.

Cognisant to this fact, in 2014 the NYDA established the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Fund (SKMSF). The SKMSF emerged out of the idea of embracing Kalushi, as a symbol of bravery, martyrdom and source of inspiration to reaping the fruits of Freedom by working towards a better future for youth.

Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu had a desire to become a teacher. Thus, preserving his legacy through provision of free education to students from poor and working-class background became prudent. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has successfully run this programme for the past 5 years. We will on Friday celebrate the success of this scholarship fund through a gala dinner and showcase some of the most outstanding and high-performance beneficiaries.

Since its establishment, the scholarship has benefitted students across various fields of study including law, commerce, engineering, agriculture, information technology, natural sciences, etc.

The SKMSF has identified key field of studies that contribute much in the economic development of the country which will afford youth economic opportunities. Since the establishment, the SKMSF has educated over five hundred (500) youth across the country, studying in various public universities and universities of technologies.

It also important to mention that establishment of SKMSF by NYDA is part of executing its constitutional obligation which, amongst is to provide education opportunities for the youth from the rural areas of academic excellence who are unable to afford to further their studies at a tertiary level. The main beneficiaries are youth from rural and under-developed areas, including townships.

In line with the announcement by government to provide fee-free quality public higher education to be implemented in phased approach for household of incomes below R 350 000, the NYDA has during the 5 years of the scholarship made the following amendments:

NYDA will continue to support students on the programme as the new policy applied to first year students.

New applicants would be in the sectors of post-graduate studies given low number of youth black postgraduates students and the need to create more research.

New applications would also be in the sector of creative arts given the importance of this sector in the National Development Plan and its lack of coverage with the free education policy.

Applicants would also be considered for artisan training not otherwise covered by higher education.

Members of the media, we are also happy to announce that through our partnership with the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), 180 000 have manage to apply for NSFAS at our offices across the country. A partnership that aimed at increasing access to funding for youth to benefit from free education.

Programme Director, the combination of the SKMSF and the initiative of the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) to preserve the memories of the liberation struggle as part of the country’s heritage makes the 40th commemoration of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu a significant gesture to honour the sacrifices of young people through celebrating the legacy of Kalushi.

The NYDA declared the year 2019 to be the Year of the Youth, spearheading to its logical conclusion the battle for the scrapping of experience as an entry requirement to all government and private sector entry level vacancies.

A victory for all young people as declared by government that as of 01st April 2019 experience will be a thing of the past. We are still urging the private sector to consider this option and implement, to respond to the crisis of youth unemployment, inequality and poverty.

We began deliberations with the Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Council (NHC) Advocate Mancotywa earlier this year with the view of establishing why 40 years later , there no site to preserve the story and legacy of Kalushi as a key player in the liberation heritage of South Africa.

I am delighted to announce that Advocate Mancotywa will in his remarks announce the decision and process to follow regarding the decision taken by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) regarding this matter.

We must however declare to the Mahlangu family, South Africans and the international community that Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu will not die whilst we are alive!

We hope that the decision by SAHRA will indeed be welcomed by South Africans and instil a sense of patriotism amongst the youth. We have also ensured that a lot of young people go out in their numbers to register to vote in the upcoming national general elections.

The Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Voter Registration and Education Campaign (VREC) by the National Youth Service Programme intensified in the last leg of registration by the IEC target eligible young voted across all high schools, universities and TVET colleges.

We are hopeful that come the 8th of May 2019, young people will go out in their numbers to vote.

I thank you. 

Enquiries:
Lerato Gambu
Cell: 064 860 0716

Programme Director, the combination of the SKMSF and the initiative of the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) to preserve the memories of the liberation struggle as part of the country’s heritage makes the 40th commemoration of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu a significant gesture to honour the sacrifices of young people through celebrating the legacy of Kalushi.

Programme Director, the combination of the SKMSF and the initiative of the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) to preserve the memories of the liberation struggle as part of the country’s heritage makes the 40th commemoration of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu a significant gesture to honour the sacrifices of young people through celebrating the legacy of Kalushi.

The NYDA declared the year 2019 to be the Year of the Youth, spearheading to its logical conclusion the battle for the scrapping of experience as an entry requirement to all government and private sector entry level vacancies. A victory for all young people as declared by government that as of 01st April 2019 experience will be a thing of the past. We are still urging the private sector to consider this option and implement, to respond to the crisis of youth unemployment, inequality and poverty.

We began deliberations with the Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Council (NHC) Advocate Mancotywa earlier this year with the view of establishing why 40 years later , there no site to preserve the story and legacy of Kalushi as a key player in the liberation heritage of South Africa.

I am delighted to announce that Advocate Mancotywa will in his remarks announce the decision and process to follow regarding the decision taken by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) regarding this matter.

We must however declare to the Mahlangu family, South Africans and the international community that Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu will not die whilst we are alive!

We hope that the decision by SAHRA will indeed be welcomed by South Africans and instil a sense of patriotism amongst the youth. We have also ensured that a lot of young people go out in their numbers to register to vote in the upcoming national general elections.

The Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Voter Registration and Education Campaign (VREC) by the National Youth Service Programme intensified in the last leg of registration by the IEC target eligible young voted across all high schools, universities and TVET colleges. We are hopeful that come the 8th of May 2019, young people will go out in their numbers to vote.
I thank you. 

Enquiries:
Lerato Gambu
Cell: 064 860 0716

Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni: Launch of NYDA voter registration and education campaign

Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni: Launch of NYDA voter registration and education campaign

Speaking notes of the Executive Chairperson of The National Youth Development Agency (Nyda), Mr Sifiso Mtsweni at the occasion of the launch of the NYDA voter registration and education campaign, Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga province
Programme Director,
Executive Mayor of Thembisile Local Municipality, Cllr Nomsa Mtsweni
Deputy Chairperson of the NYDA Board,
Members of the NYDA Board
CEO of the NYDA, Mr Waseem Carrim
Executive Management,
Cllr Mpumi,
Distinguished Guests,
The representative of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good day,

South Africa’s fifth democratic administration has entered its final year with national general elections due mid-year. The history of our country tells a tale of sacrifice and commitment by young people to bring apartheid to its knees. Thus, when we speak about entrenching the values and safeguarding our democratic dispensation one cannot overemphasize the role of the youth.

Every year, South Africa celebrates the bravery of the class of 1976 and we continue to express gratitude to the generation that heralded an era of democracy and freedom. Lest we forget the role played by young people such Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, whom at the face of death remarked: “My blood will nourish the tree the will bear the fruits of freedom”.

It is young people like Peter Mokaba, affectionately known as the Roaring Lion of the North, who took up leading role during the struggle against apartheid domination.  This year is no ordinary year South Africa’s youth. Peter Mokaba would have been 60 years old had he lived. Many young people were deprived of their youth, by confronting the apartheid beast towards a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.

In 2018, NYDA committed to fighting youth unemployment and declared the year, THE YEAR AGAINST YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. We are glad to report that we have successfully lobbied the government to scrap experience as a requirement for all entry-level vacancies. A demand justified by the high unemployment rate amongst graduates.

This year we have declared it the year of the YOUTH. A year of great determination towards ensuring that the agenda of youth is realised. We are at the centre of ensuring that as many young people make it to the legislators in the country. We need radical and militant young people to fill up the benches of Parliament. For Peter Mokaba and his generation declared “Nothing about us, without us”. A slogan that continues to drive the agenda for youth socio-economic empowerment. This year we will roll-out the NYS programme to reach 1 million young people.

Today, our voter education drive started at Entokozweni High School wherein we encouraged eligible learners to get their ID documents, go register and vote. This we did cognisant to the fact that schools remain cardinal in entrenching values of democracy. It is our belief that a clear partnership between our schools and the Department of Home Affairs will go a long way in ensuring that our learners get their ID books and smart cards timeously and register this upcoming weekend.

We also visited the CN Mahlangu TVET College and spread the message of hope and encourage young people to go and register and vote. Our team took time to teach youth about Xse, which is synonymous to the ‘X’ that voters put on the ballot paper and which has featured in previous election campaigns.

Students have promises us to exercise their right to vote by going out in their numbers to register and vote. As we head to the polls as young people, we are celebrating the right to vote as a significant tool to restore the values of a non-racial society. It cannot be business as usual that a day does not go by without incidents of racism in our country. Our schools should not be a battlefield of racial superiority. Our country deserves better. 

The IEC has launched the National and Provincial Elections 2019 programme. During the launch, Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Mr Glen Mashinini said, “Despite representing over 50 per cent of the population, South Africans aged under 30 years old have the lowest levels of voter registration.

“The young people of South Africa comprise an increasingly powerful and crucial segment of our economy, our culture, our democracy and our country. But until they register and vote they are unable to exercise their right to participate in choosing the future of our country”.

It is in this context that as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) viewed this report as a serious indictment onto our maturing democracy. We have as a response to this low voter registration amongst the youth mandated the National Youth Service Programme (NYSP) unit of the agency to develop a comprehensive strategy and come up with a campaign. The thrust of the campaign would be to support the registration drive and encourage voter registration ahead of elections. At the epicentre of this campaign will be urging young people in general, first-time voters, in particular, to register and vote come election day.

Through the social cohesion pillar, entrenching democracy and ensuring patriotism, the NYDA has taken an initiative to deliver the Voter Registration and Education Campaign (VREC). The intention is to capacitate youth and increase youth participation during elections period. Young people must know their role in preserving our democracy and the power they have, which is exercised through casting one’s vote.                                                                             

There is a further concern that youth particularly in rural areas, often mention that they are not aware of various voter education programs. Therefore, it becomes very important that all key stakeholders in the youth development sector take lead in ensuring that young people of South African are informed about their role and importance they have in elections. Youth participation in elections is the responsibility of every citizen, to build the knowledge of patriotism and partake in the strengthening democracy.

The NYSP has collaborated with the IEC to come up with the Voter Education and Registration (VREC). This campaign rolled out across nine provinces gathering the highest number of volunteers for the VREC shows the deepest sense of patriotism amongst our youth to preserve the legacy of Tata Madiba and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

It is important to highlight the following as some of the successes of government as it relates to fighting triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality:

1. The government has declared Free Education with NSFAS administering the fund for qualifying students as per the criteria determined by the state for a household earning 350 000 or less per annum.
2.  President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged companies to invest in the country and give priority to the youth (Jobs Summit)
3.  The government has launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) to enable youth to find employment.
4.  Establishment of the Ministry of Small Business Development
In this week, the NYDA will ensure that all eligible voters take the opportunity to visit the IEC offices weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm. 

The IEC provides assistance in all official languages on 0800 11 8000 and is available to respond to queries submitted via email and the IEC’s Twitter account and Facebook page. We take this opportunity to encourage young people to check if they are registered by using the SMS line. To check if one is registered please SMS ID numbers to 32810. A key aspect of the campaign will also be to encourage already registered voters to also use the opportunity of the registration weekend or the online facility to check and update their address details.

We hope that our efforts to mobilise young people to exercise their democratic right will assist in strengthening democracy. Our volunteers are visible in the street of every township and village in the country, work with them and get the necessary information about the IEC and elections workshops held in our communities.

I officially declare the NYDA Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Voter Education and Registration Campaign Officially open. 

Ngiyabonga.