State of No Action: Youth fed up with SONA empty promises

South Africa’s young people have checked out of the State of the Nation ritual.

This is what has emerged from a campaign the ActionSA Youth have run to establish the views of South Africa’s youth on this year’s State of the Nation Address.

We have collected the views of thousands of young people who have lost faith in the political establishment. The State of the Nation Address has become the State of No Action.

As young South Africans we suffer disproportionately from the failures of our government. Over 60% of young people are unemployed, we bear the brunt of our broken education system and young women are brutalised daily in our country.

In spite of this, every SONA has resulted in empty rhetoric and layers of promises being made that are designed to make us forget about what we were told last year that has not happened.

The YES programme of internships for young people designed to give them the experience they need to be competitive in the job market, free tertiary education, and millions of jobs created for young South Africans.

We have had enough of these empty promises. That is why we have given up on the State of No Action ritual, and will continue to do so until such time as a government is election that is driven by action and not just words.

When such a government emerges, the youth of our country want to hear about education reform, employment and safety. We want to hear tangible commitments with deadlines, measurables and strong accountability measures if what is promised is not delivered.

Until such a day can be achieved in 2024, the youth of our country will continue to treat the State of No Action ritual with the contempt it deserves.

Particularly prevalent in the views received from young South Africans, is the fear we live with about the kind of futures we have. For the vast majority of young people, the prospect of gaining access to opportunity is remote. It is this fear that we must meet with hope.

This is why young people must stand up and take note of the message delivered by Herman Mashaba in his address yesterday. It combines the two most sought-after messages that we want to hear as young people.

Firstly, that there is hope and that we can believe in a brighter future for our country and secondly a track record of delivering real action and not just rhetoric and broken promises.

The ActionSA Youth calls upon young people in our country to express their anger at the suffering they endure from the failure of our geriatric political system. Young people must be central to the agenda of our country, and for this we need young people ready to govern in 2024.