2017 SONA Speech: DA Calls On Zuma To Focus On Youths

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While President Jacob Zuma prepares for his 2017 SONA speech, South Africans are expectant that this year’s speech will be different from the usual. They expect that Zuma must address the issues affecting the future of the nation starting from the present day youths.

The Democratic Alliance called on President Zuma to look into the issues affecting the country’s youths as they are to determine the future of the country.

The DA noted this On Monday after it visited Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, to interact with the youth in that area on issues generally affecting them.

At the short meeting, the Mamelodi youths made mention of the growing rate of unemployment in the country and how it affects them.

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This, according to them has added to the high rate of drug addiction and so many other criminal cases in the country that are primarily perpetrated by young people.

Baring their minds to the DA ahead of the state of the nation address (SONA) on Thursday, the youths also raised concerns about unemployment and drug addiction, primarily among young people.

“The DA is consulting the youth across South Africa so that when the party responds to President Jacob Zuma’s 2017 SONA, they can share with him young people’s experiences,” said the DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme who visited the Denneboom station and business precinct in Mamelodi.

“The DA believes that young South Africans are being denied work opportunities by systemic underskilling and educational shortfalls, and that President Zuma must address this critical issue in his State of the Nation Address 2017,” she said, adding that she spoke with young activists who have done a great job in helping young people in the area to get jobs with business owners in the community and it is very positive.

The issue of unemployment is apparently one of the major issues the Zuma-led government is still battling to settle. Despite all actions, report has it that unemployment in SA has reached the height of it all since 2014.

Van Damme, who had an extensive chat with the youths in Mamelodi revealed that over 40% of young people in Tshwane were unemployed.



He, however, commended the party’s mayor in Tshwane, Solly Misimanga, for doing ‘a great job’ in creating jobs in the municipality.

“Our mayor, Solly Msimanga, is devoting a lot of time to creating job opportunities,” he said.

Furthermore, the mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi who reiterated the need for job creation, said there was obviously a link between unemployment, crime, and drug abuse.

“The city has long recognized the problem with drugs in communities like Hammanskraal, Eersterust, Mamelodi and Soshanguve.”

Some money had been earmarked for rehabilitation facilities, but the former administration set aside “a lot of money for a lot of things, whether those things have been done is an entirely different story”.

Mgobozi said the new administration, through its social development department and with the members of the mayoral committee for community safety, was trying to ensure that the affected youths were put to productive work and rehabilitated.

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Zuma’s 2017 SONA speech scheduled for Thursday has generated lots of controversy with many citizens expecting him to be more practical than theoretical in his approach for 2017.

“He [Zuma] needs to be practical when he addresses the nation. He has previously spoken on the three matters that need urgent attention – health, education, and corruption in South Africa. What is he going to say now to make people take him seriously? He must try and be radical,” Lesiba Teffo, law expert at the University of South Africa (Unisa), told African News Agency.

“He must be practical, otherwise his whole 2017 SONA speech is just a recitation. We know that he will talk about corruption, delivery of textbooks in Limpopo, the health system but when you look at it closely, it is what he has previously told the nation years ago,” he added.

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