Youth Parliament 'a waste'
AS THE Youth Parliament - a session of Parliament featuring hundreds of young people - kicked off, the DA questioned the R2.1-million it cost to organise and host the event.
Hundreds of young people from various youth formations around the country gathered in Parliament yesterday to debate issues affecting the youth, such as education, unemployment and economic freedom.
The DA dismissed the gathering as a waste of money.
Chief whip Watty Watson said the outrageous costs involved demonstrated just how out of touch the ANC was with the challenges faced by the youth.
"The dysfunctional organisation of the event raises concerns about its legitimacy as a so-called sectoral parliamentary event," he said.
Watson said the money could have been used to secure job opportunities for 57 young people.
During the session, held in Parliament's old assembly chamber, youths from across the country voiced their concern over unemployment.
The session almost descended into chaos as speakers interrupted each other and the presiding officers battled to contain the heated debate.
"There is nothing truthful about what he is saying, he is lying," one speaker said to another, who had just commented on the issue of youth unemployment.
The chairman of the youth Parliament's steering committee, Lusizo Makhubela-Mashele, who had a tough time maintaining order, said it was to be expected that unemployment would be topical and would raise emotions.
"We are looking at the dynamic topic of unemployment and inequality. They are recognising government weaknesses.
"They all just want to speak. We want to give them an ear and don't want to suppress them," she said.
Earlier another speaker from the University of Cape Town told the packed assembly room that he felt the government was not listening and was not taking the youth seriously.
"This is really just a PR event. How is the government taking this forward. Jobs require skills and education. Economic development comes from education, where is the government?" he said.
Earlier deputy speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo said jobs and resources were available but the youth also needed to be realistic about their expectations.
"We have a generation who, when they get into a job, need a salary that can buy a Mercedes-Benz."
She said it was not only the government's responsibility to address unemployment but the youth also needed to play their part.