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Building Vibrant, Equitable and

Sustainable Rural Communities

Media Statement

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Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza, has called on the youth to become change agents and to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities.

The minister was addressing more than a thousand participants of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) at their intake ceremony in Thaba Nchu, Free State. 

Addressing the NARYSEC participants, Minster Didiza said: “South Africa will never change if young people just wait for government to provide. Let us go to the farm and start farming. Once you are done with the programme, we want to see you being able to farm. The programme is meant to kick-start your life so that you can change your lives”.  

“Yours is to give back to the community, more especially your family. You are carrying a lot of responsibilities and if you fail, you will have failed the country. As pioneers, you have a lot of responsibilities to contribute toward the economy of the country,” urged the minster. 

She told the participants that the NARYSEC programme was aimed at providing them with appropriate knowledge; skills; values and seeks to instill a positive attitude in them. She also added that the programme was also meant to empower them to transform their own lives; change, for better, the lives of their families and contribute towards changing the character of rural communities.

After training, participants must become change agents who contribute towards the vision of - “building vibrant; equitable and sustainable rural communities,” Minister Didiza said. 

The minister added that she was hopeful that most of the NARYSEC will use their skills to participate in the economic opportunities created the District Development Model.

The minister was accompanied by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Free State’s MEC for Finance, Ms Gadija Brown.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma, who was celebrating her birthday, said: “In any country the youth are important. The youth have the potential to drive the development of the country”. She encouraged the youth and women to be in business, especially farming business. “There is a need to for districts to have economic development. If there is no economic development, we will never deal with poverty in our communities,” She added.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma quoted OR Tambo when he said “The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future”.

She urged the participants to be disciplined. She encouraged them to listen to their instructors, starting with the small things.

“If you cannot be trusted with the small things then you will not trusted with big things. You must grab the opportunity with both hands,” she urged the participants. 

The government is trying out a new district development model to address corruption, poverty, economic growth, unemployment, spatial planning and skills development. The minister said the model would be piloted at district, local and metropolitan levels. She said one of the government's main objectives was to identify local development opportunities and ensure economic activity in every district.

"Unemployment will not abate if we do not ensure that there are opportunities for employment outside the government in all the districts. This will also assist us in addressing poverty," she said.

After recruitment, participants are dispatched to the NARYSEC College in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, where they are taken through an induction, orientation and life skills training phase.  The initial training phase is followed by a youth leadership development programme, which is administered by the South African National Defence Force at the 3SAI military base in Kimberley and at the SA Naval base in Saldanha in the Western Cape.

The youth are then enrolled into TVET and other training colleges to obtain qualifications in their chosen career fields, which is paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. Upon completion, participants then venture into the various career paths, others are absorbed into government departments, municipalities, and the private sector while some pursue their own businesses. 

In addition to inculcating discipline and patriotism, the objective of the Youth Leadership Development Training is to teach the new recruits vocational skills such as basic Personal Financial Management, Occupational Health and Safety orientation, Hygiene, Fire Fighting and Civic education among others. 

The NARYSEC programme is implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and is intended to contribute towards the state’s broader skills development initiatives for the country’s youth.

Issued by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Reform:
Media Liaison Officer and Spokesperson: Mr Reggie Ngcobo, 082 883 2458
Eviction Toll-free Number 0800 007 095

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