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We wish you a prosperous 2018 and let us work together to ensure that we win the battle for the youth of this country
Dear colleagues and friends,
We take this opportunity to wish you a very happy new year! May this year indeed be the year for you, may all your wishes, dreams and aspirations come true. Remember that success is based on a tested combination of vision, focus, resilience, patience and hard work. If you want it hard enough, you must work for it hard enough! 
2017 was a year full of many challenges, we collectively and individually overcame them. For us, 2017 was a game changer. We were bestowed the honour of heading Youth Development in the country, from the very onset. We dedicated ourselves to becoming an activist Board that will dedicate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week towards issues of youth development. We said we will change the image of the NYDA from that of being an Agency purely existing in affluent areas serving the interest of those who have access to it. We said we will take it to young people in townships and rural areas, we dedicated ourselves to open offices where young people are and in all districts of the country.
We have adopted that plan, we have launched mobile offices that will criss cross the country to the outskirts, we have launched a mobile App to ensure that all products and services of the NYDA are literally at the fingertips of all young people. We have completed the process of ensuring that all NYDA offices are Wi-Fi hotspots, young people just by being in the vicinity of our offices will have Wi-Fi connectivity on their mobiles, tablets and laptops. We have signed an MOU with NSFAS to offer capacity and office space to NSFAS across all our offices in the country and this has worked very well as thousands of young people have had access to NSFAS forms and have filled them. 
In addition to all of that, we said we will vociferously raise issues that face young people, sharply and openly. We have called for the scrapping of job experience as an entrance requirement, we have called for 40% youth quota in Government procurement, in all companies and even in Parliament. We have openly called for free education, we rejected the Heher Commission of inquiry report that wanted to replace NSFAS with banks. We wrote to the President and proposed what we now believe to be what the President announced on the 16th of December 2017. We lobbied hard for Government to introduce free education for the poor and we are happy that in our lifetime this will happen, starting from this year, immediately. 
As we enter 2018, we wish to declare this year as the year of fighting youth unemployment head on! We declare war on youth unemployment, we say enough is enough! We will gear all our efforts and programmes towards finding solutions to this challenge. We will also concentrate on the National Youth Service Programme (NYS). The President has challenged us to ensure that by 2019 the NYS has recruited 1 million young people. As Chairperson, we will be the champion of this recruitment this year and we can assure you that we will recruit 1 million young people from all corners of the republic. Cabinet has since adopted the National Youth Service Framework and it forms the basis of how we will proceed.
Over the next few days, the NYDA Board as well as Senior Executives will be in the Eastern Cape province in ALL Districts and regions, in all rural areas ensuring that we talk to young people about education, skills development, entrepreneurship programmes, Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund and also offer sanitary towels to young girls in rural areas. We will paint and clean up schools to ready them for the year ahead, we will be very busy! Please be on the lookout for us, we will share the full programme, shortly. We will be in Sarah Baartman, Nelson Mandela Metro, Buffalo City, OR Tambo, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani and everywhere else in the province of the Eastern Cape!  
Once again, we wish you a prosperous 2018 and let us work together to ensure that we win the battle for the youth of this country. The youth remains the majority of the population of South Africa and therefore there should be nothing about us without us!
Sifiso Mtsweni, NYDA Executive Chairperson