On Tuesday, 13 June, the Metro held a ceremony of unveiling a significant partnership between Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and the National Youth Development Agency to change the lives of young people in the City for the better.

Delivering the speech during the occassion, BCMM Executive Mayor Councillor Princess Faku said, "It gives me great pleasure to deliver these opening and welcoming remarks at this occasion today."

"I am equally delighted because of this exciting partnership for I know that it will go a long way in changing the lives of young people in this region for the better."

"The historic partnership is also being initiated in the youth month of June which is very important in our calendar as a country."

"The June month marks the commemoration of National Youth Day in South Africa. This is the month the country reflects on the massacre of school children during the Soweto Uprising of 1976. When high-school students in Soweto began protesting for better education on 16 June 1976, the police responded with teargas and live ammunition."

"Youth day, the 16th of June is a South African national holiday that commemorates all those who lost their lives in the struggle against Apartheid and Bantu Education."

"The priorities of our municipality are clearly defined to ensure that young people are not left behind in all our plans. Hence this month is a month in which South Africans honour the youth that were ambushed by the apartheid regime police in Soweto on 16 June 1976."

The partnership is very important because it will address and focus on a number of key issues such as the following:

*1. Skills Development for the Youths of our Metro* : the skilling, upskilling and reskilling of our youths is very important as part of youth empowerment. Skills training will be a key priority area that this partnership will achieve over the next period.

*2. Scholarship and Quality Education* : we are ambitious to ensure that youth have access to education through helping them with NSFAS applications, Bursary allocations and placements amongst others.

*3. Social Cohesion and Nation Building* : here we envisage a partnership wherein our youths are encouraged about patriotism and building of communities in which they live.

*4. Job Creation : Unemployment is very high and we seek to see this partnership helping our youths who are in business to create more jobs, this will will help by creating an enabling environment for youth owned businesses to flourish.

"As part of this program, The City will employ 100 young people as from 1 August 2023 and get a stipent of R3000 for a period of 12 months.

5. Small Business Development* : this is one of the key priority area for this partnership to ensure that we play a leading role as these two institutions BCMM and NYDA in boosting youth owned small enterprises and capacitate them with proper business infrastructure and deliverables such as access to loans and start up capital, training and development."

"The idea of giving our youths opportunities will be an impetus for broader youth development agenda for our nation, as we expect even the private sector to come on board in this noble initiative," said Faku.

"This is also part of advancing our vision as Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to be a well-governed, connected, innovative and responsive municipality. In order for us to provide effective and efficient municipal services, create a safe and healthy environment and place Batho Pele principles at the centre of service delivery, we need our youths to be covered first in terms of business opportunities, work opportunities and training opportunities."

"In conclusion, on behalf of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality I would like to welcome all of you and I wish you all a great launch of the partnership between BCMM and NYDA. May God bless you all and May God bless the youth of our country," she said.