Environmental Affairs on youth environmental projects and programmes during Youth Month - June 2015
On 16 June 1976, more than 15 000 students gathered at Orlando West Secondary School with the intention of participating in a peaceful march to the nearby Orlando Stadium. The demonstration had been planned in protest against the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction at schools.
However, the police and armed forces responded to the protest violently and the first fatality of the day was Hector Pieterson, a 12-year-old pupil who was shot by the police. It is believed that 175 others were also killed that day.
This violent backlash to what was meant to be a peaceful march caught the attention of the international community. After this event, many countries imposed sanctions on South Africa in an attempt to force the apartheid government to ease its repressive rule.
June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa, with a specific focus on 16 June, which is also known as Youth Day. Youth Month pays tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto.
This year marks the 39th anniversary of the Soweto uprisings, and in honour of this, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has developed a national programme under the theme of "Youth Action for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime".
As we celebrate Youth Month, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) would like to emphasise its concern over the growing number of unemployed young people. As we begin the third decade of our democracy, the ability of our country to upscale a conducive environment for young South Africans to be absorbed into active economic participation, is of vital importance.
Youth Month coincides with Environment Month and DEA would like to take this opportunity to highlight its efforts aimed at job creation and empowering the youth in the environment sector. This period provides a great opportunity to raise awareness on the environment, environmental education, job opportunities in the sector and the green economy.
As part of our environmental sector contribution towards addressing the challenges of youth unemployment in the country, the department has initiated three projects / programmes which encourage better environmental management practices within our communities:
Youth Environmental Services (YES) Programme
Firstly, the Youth Environmental Services (YES) Programme set to benefit 2700 young people over a period of three years. Upon exiting the programme these young people are set to be placed in either permanent employment or further training institutions.
Youth Jobs in Waste Programme
Secondly, the launch the Youth Jobs in Waste Programme, in June, this project is expected to create 330 job opportunities in waste in the Free State and 326 in the North West provinces. The project is intended to provide 3 577 young people with job opportunities in waste management and related entrepreneurship.
Groen Sebenza Jobs Fund partnership project
Thirdly, the department undertook a concerted effort to build human capital in the biodiversity sector. Working with SANBI, through our programme Groen Sebenza, the department partnered with 33 organisations to create a cadre of 800 confident and competent people to work at all levels of government and in the private sector.
In addition to these youth employment initiatives, is the introduction of Environmental Monitors to deal with environmental threats in protected areas, including the scourge of rhino-poaching nationally. Through this programme, during the period of the 2013/14 finaicla year, 1 000 young people were set to be employed to strengthen the fight against rhino poaching and other environmental challenges.