Hon Chairperson, Members of Parliament, and distinguished guests, I am standing here in the front of this House this evening to put forward a case for the youth, especially in the era of reindustrialisation. I am dedicating my speech to millions of young people and their generation, who stood firm and fought tirelessly against the apartheid colonial machinery that wanted to rob them of their freedom in their lifetime. [Applause.]
Over the past 20 years the ANC has laid a solid foundation for the creation of a national democratic society and a better life for all our people. The ANC-led government has put in place many policies aimed at youth development and the participation of the youth in the economy. For this purpose, the ANC-led government established the National Youth Commission in 1996, the Umsobomvu Youth Fund in 1998 and the National Youth Development Agency in 2009, including the National Skills Development Framework and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, to name but a few. However, more needs to be done if we want to integrate young people into the mainstream of the economy.
Youth is a microcosm of society. The problems of our society are huge and difficult, therefore youth problems are complex and melancholy. More complex challenges still persist and most of them continue to affect young people in this country. This is a call for action in the case for the youth. It is in this context that President Jacob Zuma, in his 17 June 2014 state of the nation address, reminded all South Africans that, as we enter the second phase of our transition, we have to embark on radical socioeconomic transformation to push back the frontiers of poverty, unemployment and inequality; and that we have to realise that this change will not come about without some far-reaching interventions. Indeed, we need these far-reaching interventions.
The ANC understood that the problem in South Africa is structural unemployment, widening inequalities and widespread poverty. The ANC is of the firm view that this triple challenge is a direct result of the persisting and stubborn structural problems in the South African economy.
The ANC 53rd National Conference in Mangaung concluded that:
These structural problems in our economy require a structural solution that would transform the trajectory of our economic landscape.
Since the youth is the largest social group of the unemployed, it therefore goes without saying that any meaningful economic transformation will have to jealously target and benefit young people. Hence, in this second phase of the transition, the ANC has adopted a radical stance to economic change based on the currently existing material conditions. This radical stance is aimed at decisively breaking ranks with the past through a decisive break with rising youth unemployment, widespread youth poverty and widening inequality between the youth and the older generations in South Africa. This project also calls on us to rid our country of predatory and exploitative tendencies in the workplace.
This is why the ANC and the President adopted the position that if we want sustainable and inclusive growth in our country, South Africa needs to implement industrialisation, reindustrialise, and integrate youth in the forefront of our industrial strategies.
At the outset we need to state that industrialisation is key to any meaningful economic transformation to tackle the three interrelated social ills of poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is key, because it is only through massive industrial expansion of production that our economy will be able to create the large number of decent jobs that our country require and our youth desperately need, as well as to eradicate poverty as we reduce the income inequality gap.
The ANC welcomes the development of the Youth Enterprise Development Strategy by the Department of Trade and Industry, DTI, and many other similar initiatives that are aimed at increasing the contribution of youth- owned and youth-managed enterprises to the gross domestic product as well as increasing the number of youth-owned and youth-managed enterprise start- ups in all sectors of the economy. However, more still needs to be done.
Going forward, the intensive and extensive training of our youth to become the core of our labour-intensive, high-tech-based production processes is therefore essential. Our youth must be targeted in large numbers for training as artisans, technicians and engineers in various fields of the real production of the economy to groom them to be future industrialists.
The ANC-led government therefore remains committed to the agreements of the Youth Employment Accord, the Skills Accord and many other initiatives that are aimed at including the youth in skills development projects; to the improvement of education and training opportunities for the groupings between school leaving and first employment; and to connecting young people with employment opportunities through, amongst others, support for job placement schemes and work readiness initiatives.
The ANC embraces the creation of black industrialists as well as a nonracial and nonsexist entrepreneur class in South Africa. Hence our strategy involves the formulation and strengthening of policies that support the development of young black industrialists and entrepreneurs who will provide productive inputs into the real economy rather than the so- called shareholder transactions.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Report notes that, throughout the world, shifts in population dynamics, technology changes, fluctuating economies and other dynamic forces have transformed societies as never before, bringing new challenges and opportunities to the forefront. Among the responses to these shifting forces is increased emphasis on entrepreneurship by government, organisations and the public.
Hence, at home we are facing a major problem of how to tap into this growing global trajectory when the challenges we are facing are further exacerbated by the history of the apartheid colonial system, which today still remains a major obstacle to our collective prosperity.
In a nutshell, our people face the well-known problems of inadequate access to credit, lack of business skills, and lack of business networks to facilitate a prosperous trading environment. Therefore, what we need to address during this fifth term of Parliament is marshalling and locating the youth as a key driver of economic growth. Whilst recognising the great strides that the DTI and our government have made for the youth in the past 20 years, I contend that we need to do the following, and fast.
On the regulatory front, we need a tax regime that facilitates the ease of doing business by new emerging black industrialists. This specifically means that in the same way that we aided the growth and sustainability of white businesses by allowing them to meet minimum broad-based black economic empowerment requirements, we should have specific incentives and relaxed regulations for emerging young black entrepreneurs, and Africans in particular. [Applause.] We should develop a tax system and regulations that encourage new small and medium enterprises, SMEs, and growing firms owned by young people, especially young women. Why do we have an income tax for micro enterprises or a tax system that hinders the entrance of young Africans in particular?
There is a clear correlation between exploitation of business opportunities and levels of education. It follows, therefore, that the long-term solution lies in education and further education and training, as Minister Blade Nzimade put it. It responds to the national priorities of the state. It must produce industrialists to respond to the era of industrialisation in South Africa. This was the design of apartheid for white kids. We should teach our youth to be independent thinkers and go-getters in business and arm them with entrepreneurial tools from an early age.
We should aim to achieve greater results in innovation, where the focus should be on new products and services as opposed to competing in the "me too" commodities and retail environment. We must find a way to reward innovation and encourage it amongst young entrepreneurs and finance those with highly innovative ideas that would benefit the youth.
We must improve the availability of financial resources in respect of equity and debt of small and medium enterprises owned by young people, including grants and subsidies.
Lastly, I believe that access to infrastructure is critical. We must ensure ease of access to physical resources such as communication, utilities, transportation, land or space at a price that encourages the sustainability of young people.
Well, I am taking my gloves off and removing my red beret. Hon Chance, you must not allow yourself to come into this House and take chances by telling this House about the DA's experience. I want to remind you that the DA has the experience of supporting slave wages in our economy. In the Western Cape, the DA has the experience of closing down every institution that is established to empower a black businessperson. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
I want to tell you about the kind of experience that the DA has. It has experience in closing down schools that are utilised by black children in this province. [Applause.] It has a negative track record, one of fighting against black economic empowerment. That is the DA that I know. It has governance experience of throwing people out of Lwandle and burning their shacks. That is our experience of the DA in this province. I had to migrate to Gauteng, run away from this oppression. [Interjections.]