Our democracy has not been kind to you, the youth of South Africa.
Young people face the highest levels of unemployment in our country.
The futures of young people are being destroyed by an education system that rivals the evil Bantu education system of HF Verwoerd.
The vast majority of young people higher education and training is a pipe dream for those who will never get to go to a university or technikon. Many who are fortunate enough to access tertiary education, struggle under the weight of debt.
Young people are the greatest victims of the drugs that pour through our non-existent borders and into our country.
How then do we expect our youth to compete with illegal foreigners for jobs that they can do themselves? Jobs that may be general to help them get through while looking for better employment opportunities. For this, our dysfunctional Department of Home Affairs must be made to account.
Young people, and especially our young women, live with the greatest fear of being the next victim of gender-based violence.
If we are honest with ourselves, our political system has failed young South Africans.
Look at the so-called youth structures of political parties.
Look at how politicians have reacted to the plight of young people with broken promises to score a quick vote.
Look at how political parties use young people as window dressing to obscure the fact that the power in this country lies with people who should have retired already.
What is truly amazing, is that young people make up the majority of people in our country.
There are 36 million South Africans under the age of 35, in a country of just under 60 million people. You are 61% of our population and just 6% of our parliament.
ActionSA is committed to changing this!
We want ActionSA to be the home of the young people of our country.
Our Senate has already resolved that we must offer young people a political home, and that we must establish youth structures that will become the heart and the conscience of our party.
We are here today to live up to this commitment, to reveal to South African the young people will partner with us for ActionSA to offer a new political alternative to the youth of our country.
We have established a National Youth Advisory Council that will guide our engagements with the youth of South Africa.
You see them here before you, representing the diversity of our country.
Many of these young people have never been involved in politics before, this is something that we celebrate because the youth of our country need fresh thinking.
The personal stories of these great young South Africans are moving. They represent the challenges faced by the youth of our country.
Yet, they are here, committing themselves to their counterparts who have lost hope. They will be an integral part in our quest to drive a vision of hope for a better, more prosperous South Africa for all its youth who are the future of our country.
We are proud to announce 3 of these young people; Hluphi Precious Gafane, Dean Solomon and Thabo Malosi, who will serve on our Senate, the highest decision-making body, to ensure that the voice of our youth is strongly represented.
We have an enormous task ahead of us.
We need to offer hope to young people who have been forgotten.
We need to offer the solutions that will be required to combat youth unemployment.
We need to offer the plans to build more universities and make tertiary education attainable, and not just political rhetoric for every young South African.
Today, I stand before you to call upon all young South Africans, black and white, Indian and coloured.
I call upon all young South Africans in the dusty villages and the bustling cities of our country.
I call upon those living in townships and suburbs, studying at universities and technikons, with jobs and without jobs, to come forward, living with and without disability, heterosexual or those who identify as LGBTQI across the lengths and breaths of South Africa.
Let us Act As One to elevate their voices in our communities and our politics.
Let us Act As One for them to have a better chance of becoming future entrepreneurs, business or political leaders, professionals, doctors, nurses, teachers and public servants instead of falling into crime because of lack of viable opportunities to thrive
Let us Act As One so that one day, very soon the children of Eldorado Park, Khayelitsha, Phoenix, Kwa-Mashu, Seshego, Winterveldt, Alexandra, through their hard work, have the same chances of success as the children of Sandton, Constantia, Camps Bay and Durban North.
Let us Act As One for them to inherit a country which hates less, loves more, works together and thrives together, As One!