Today, the Hector Pieterson Memorial buzzed with political activity as various political parties, including the PAC, Azapo, and Build One SA, participated in youth day events.
Among them was Kabelo Gwamanda, the recently elected mayor of Johannesburg, who engaged in several activities, such as distributing food packages to the elderly.
Gwamanda, who fell ill during last week’s State of the City Address debate, emphasized the importance of commemorating and honoring the contributions made by the young people of 1976 to both the youth of South Africa and the residents of Soweto.
He expressed the significance of paying respect to those who lost their lives in 1976 and acknowledged those who paved the way for the freedom enjoyed today.
Although he recognized that the day is celebrated in various ways, Gwamanda, as a citizen of Johannesburg and South Africa, personally interpreted the purpose of the gathering as a means to remember and honor those who fought for liberation.
He emphasized that the modern-day struggle does not involve firearms, rubber bullets, and tear gas, but rather revolves around the ongoing effort to transform the country.
Earlier today, Mmusi Maimane, the leader of Build One SA, led a ceremony at the Hector Pietersen Memorial where he laid a wreath.
During the ceremony, he stressed that the current generation of young people has a responsibility to carry on the fight initiated by the previous generation.
Maimane expressed his disappointment in the government’s inadequate efforts to provide economic and educational opportunities for the youth.
He stated, “Our government has let down this generation of young people and has not fully honored the sacrifices made in 1976.
That is why we must act now to give young people educational and entrepreneurial chances.”
Maimane pointed out that the current education system remains a major barrier for young people to access genuine opportunities and secure decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods.
Gwamanda, the mayor of Johannesburg, also announced that the city has allocated R20 million to the Department of Social Development for youth development as part of the Youth Month celebrations.
Following the approval of the budget presented by the MMC for Finance, Dada Morero, amounting to R80.9 billion, Gwamanda explained that a significant portion would be directed towards addressing socio-economic challenges faced by the city’s youth. These challenges include the lack of skills, the substance abuse crisis, and the provision of rehabilitation services.
Of the total budget, R73.3 billion was assigned to operational expenses, while R7.6 billion was allocated to capital expenses. Additionally, a three-year capital budget of R24.4 billion was approved.
Gwamanda viewed this budget allocation as a positive sign, indicating the stability of the Johannesburg City Council and the enhanced ability of the Government of Local Unity to serve the city’s six million residents and accelerate the delivery of services, as outlined in the Integrated Development Plan agreed upon as a social contract with the residents.