While President Jacob Zuma was addressing an official Youth Day rally in Ventersdorp‚ North West‚ on Friday‚ an angry resident expressed unhappiness over his visit to the area‚ saying he had come to “lie” with no programme to change the lives of the people.
In an interview with reporters‚ local resident Meleko Mejave said: “We are people less equal than others. I got a statement that I owe the municipality R400 for a service that they never delivered to me. It is useless for him to be here. As useless as he is‚ there is nothing that he is bringing here.”
On Friday‚ Zuma addressed the June 16 celebration in Ventersdorp at a time when a lot of the youth are facing serious unemployment and struggle to access education. The country is also battling to combat a rise of violence against women and children which has captured headlines over the past three months. There has also been a lot of criticism of the ruling party following the leaked Gupta emails which revealed how the influential family secured business in state-owned entities.
Mejave complained about this in the short interview.
“He is going to lie to us from there. Atul Gupta decides what to do [and] where the money is going to go. R16-billion has gone to Guptas in contracts. That R16-billion was supposed to be put for service delivery for our people. We are unemployed. We are uneducated because there is no plan for a school…‚” he said.
In his speech‚ Zuma mentioned the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as one of various initiatives‚ at national‚ provincial and local level‚ to kick-start the economy with the aim of assisting young people to gain experience and find employment.
The president did acknowledge that government efforts were made difficult by a slump in the economy.
“We are going through a tough time as a result of the recession‚ which has caused a slump in the economy‚” said Zuma
He said the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) would spend R72-million on economic participation which would benefit 18‚000 aspiring young entrepreneurs.
The board would also open four new branches in Ekurhuleni in Gauteng and Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal.