June 16, youth celebration event in the Amajuba District saw KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu accompanied by the whole KZN cabinet including the newly elected members of the legislature with KZN ANC Chairperson Sihle Zikalala who has been appointed as the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism gracing Newcastle.
The dignitaries started by visiting a memorial site on Asiphephe Road that was erected in memory of the 31 learners and four adults who were killed in a road accident involving a truck and a bus in April 1998 for wreath laying.
During his speech ,KZN Premier called on the newly appointed MEC for Transport Mxolisi Kaunda and MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwana to work together to intensify road safety campaigns to prevent the loss of young people as a result of road accidents in the Amajuba District and the whole of KwaZulu –Natal .
The entourage then moved to a Youth Day Celebration held at Amajuba FET College Stadium where District Mayor Cllr Jabu Khumalo and Newcastle Local Mayor Cllr Afzul Rehman welcomed the cabinet to this vibrant city.
Explaining the objectives of the event District Mayor highlighted that this programme was mainly to educate the youth of their history and the role played by young people in the struggle during the 1976 events
Addressing the youth Premier Willies Mchunu said that he is very concern about the high rate of HIV infection especially amongst young girls between the age of 15 and 24 and that the provincial government is investing towards health education and other youth empowerment programmes. He warned young boys and sugar daddies not to be world’s destroyers but urged them to protect women.
“Today we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of June 16, against the background of the 52nd Anniversary of the Rivonia Trial Verdict. We celebrate these landmarks in our history not because they were happy events, we do so because they represented turning points in the struggle for freedom and democracy. Today our youngsters have the freedom to choose whichever career path they want to embark on, they can chose which ever language they want to speak because of the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes who fought toe and nail for freedom” eluded the premier
He continued to say that government is committed to ensuring that programmes on skills and youth development are accessed by young people throughout all corners of this province, starting from the early childhood development. There has been a strong focus on scarce skills such as engineering, science and technology, accounting, information technology, agriculture, health and social services.
“Over the past five years provincial government has spent more than R1, 5 billion on bursaries awarded to disadvantage students. The accumulative number of students that have benefited from the bursary programme over the past five years is more than 7000,There were more than 2000 students from poor families who benefitted from financial support provided by the provincial government at a cost of more than R54 million since 2013 alone.” said KZN Premier
The number of graduates provincially is more than 8000 and some are still studying. The overall number of progressing students provincially has increased from 2,990 in 2014 to more than 3000 in 2015. For the centralized departments, more than 800 students have progressing since 2014. The budget to fund these students from 2014/2015 to 2015/2016 is more than R20 million.