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Remember Ntuli by empowering youth

FILE IMAGE: President Ramaphosa is flanked by the first 100 beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Service (YES).
FILE IMAGE: President Ramaphosa is flanked by the first 100 beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Service (YES).
Image: Nomahlubi Jordaan

As Emily Dickinson said: "Dying is a wild night and a new road."

Simply put, every cloud has a silver lining.

How well can this metaphor succinctly catch the mood and caricature of the period just before September 29 1991, when Samuel "Sam" Hambokwakhe Sfuba Ntuli was killed?

At the time, he was general secretary of Civic Associations of Southern Transvaal (Cast) and on the day he was assassinated talks were to be concluded in preparation for the launch of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).

Ntuli was shot dead in Khumalo Street, Thokoza township.

At the time of his death, many liberators in the area were being targeted and killed by the apartheid government. On October 7 1991, the day Sam Ntuli was laid to rest, at least 18 people were killed.

As we remember Ntuli, we would have wanted to do that in better living conditions.

But we are faced with high unemployment and poor living conditions in the townships.

The much-talked-about township economy has not been implemented to the point of benefitting the majority in the townships.

Young people that Ntuli would have loved to see enjoy the fruits of freedom are the ones who are unskilled and are roaming the township streets doing nothing. Those who want to be entrepreneurs do not have access to finance.

I call on government to incentivise entrepreneurship by rolling out more specialised economic zones, lowering barriers to entry in certain industries and introducing tax breaks.

This should include businesses below a certain revenue threshold.

In each province, major industries should be approached to support and encourage start-ups. Provinces with less entrepreneurial activities like Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape, North West and the Eastern Cape should have more export processing zones with incentives in order to encourage industries to relocate and for overseas businesses to establish themselves in these provinces.

Behaviour and norms should be drastically changed and a new culture inculcated where entrepreneurial co-operatives are encouraged and there is sharing of skills and facilities for success of entrepreneurial ventures.

Post-apartheid economic policies did not address structural weakness of the economy that developed around mineral and mining sectors, where institutions and infrastructure favoured these industries. Most of these large corporations were allowed by government to internationalise their businesses without increasing domestic investment.

The challenge facing SA today is that it is mediating a path of largely preserving the economic system inherited from apartheid, as it benefits a few through BBBEE policies, while inequality, poverty, unemployment and a significant number of citizens' dependence on social welfare grows.

We now want to keep the memory of Ntuli alive through the Sam Ntuli Institute that will seek to help young people get employment, skills as well as get into business.

It is a big task but someone has to do it and having been led by him, we will not fail.

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