The National Youth Policy draft 2030 needs you(th) to be a success. - Youth Capital

The National Youth Policy draft 2030 needs you(th) to be a success.

Economic transformation, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation.

Looking for work in South Africa is too expensive. Without a network that can assist them with tips or advice on where to look, the majority of young people spend an average of R550 a month [1], with data, transport, printing and clothing costs adding up to this hefty sum. In its draft form, the NYP2030  includes a call to identify critical barriers that young people face when getting to work in the first few months, and support them through adhoc interventions;  those mentioned in the document include provision of transport costs, airtime, money needed for food, and work-appropriate clothes.

Given the limited opportunities for employment in the formal economy, many young people are starting their own businesses. The policy recognises this reality and calls for prioritising supporting young entrepreneurs and youth-owned SMEs.

Lastly, we cannot ignore government initiatives such as public works programmes, the Employment Tax Incentive and BBBEE, which are all opportunities that can be leveraged to allow young people easier entry into the work place. However, young people often leave placements in public works programmes without a clear exit strategy for future employment; the NYP needs to outline mechanisms on how to unlock opportunities through making these existing incentives work for young people.

Physical and Mental Health Promotion.

NYP2030 focuses greatly on the physical and mental health promotion of young people by:

  • supporting healthy lifestyles for young people;
  • recognising sexual and reproductive health issues;
  • combatting high levels of substance abuse among young people;
  • identifying the need for youth-friendly health services.

Despite acknowledging the need for mental health promotion, a plan for addressing the issue is only outlined in relation to substance abuse and depression. However, this addresses only part of the challenge faced by young people. In engagements Youth Capital has held with over 500 South Africans, young people mention the stigma surrounding mental health and the lack of support they receive in communities for dealing with these illnesses – as for substance abuse and depression, these issues deserve attention on their own.

Nation-building and social cohesion.

In this section, the policy draft makes a much-needed call for social cohesion and improved implementation of the National Youth Service. However, young people need to play a more constructive role through being meaningfully represented in decision-making structures. To ensure this long overdue call becomes a reality, the NYP2030 needs to set a youth representation percentage both at local and national level.

Effective and responsive youth development institutions.

In this section, the NYP2030 makes a welcome call for all youth departments to work together and for youth units at national, provincial and local levels to be established where they do not exist yet.

However, the lack of integration and a shared agenda between the NYP and the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) is concerning. Launched at the State of the Nation Address in February 2020, the PYEI will be implemented directly by a specialised Project Management Office in the Presidency for the next five years. Since the NYP2030 and the PYEI share many of their key pillars such as the Youth Employment Service and the National Youth Service, the NYP2030 has to indicate how these two policies will complement one another in the implementation phase in order to achieve the shared goal of supporting young people.

How do we make sure the policy is effective?

Once the policy is approved, the details on how it will be implemented will be outlined in the implementation plan. This is a critical phase as many policies fail at the implementation phase and this is why a clear evaluation framework is critical for success. The draft NYP2030 policy references a monitoring and evaluation framework, but there are no clear details on what this will look like and when it will be developed. In order for the young people to hold all parties accountable to the promises made in NYP2030, this framework needs to be clearly outlined in the policy before it is approved, to ensure the NYP2030 becomes more than just a piece of paper.

What can you(th) do? 

This policy is a valuable piece of work to frame and lead the development of young South Africans in the next 10 years and young people need to be able to give direction and input on how to make that happen. Following our comments submitted in April 2020, a Draft 2 of the policy was released. 

How can you stay involved? 

The process of policy-making is a long journey. We need to work together to keep the pressure on

  • Join our WhatsApp working group, where we will host ongoing engagements 
  • Add your signature to our joint comment by signing this form and adding your signature

Do you want to get involved?


[1] Graham L, Patel L, Chowa G, Vera RM de, Khan Z, Williams L, et al. SIYAKHA YOUTH ASSETS REPORT. 2016.

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