Deputy President Paul Mashatile

Deputy President Paul Mashatile. Image: X/@myNSFAS

Mashatile promises efficient NSFAS administration amid challenges

Deputy President Mashatile acknowledged the issues facing NSFAS and reassured young people that efficiency will be improved.

Deputy President Paul Mashatile

Deputy President Paul Mashatile. Image: X/@myNSFAS

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has expressed strong support for President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa, emphasising his confidence in Ramaphosa’s leadership to tackle youth challenges in South Africa, including significant reforms to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Mashatile: Focus on jobs and skills

During the 48th anniversary of Youth Day at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo, Mashatile outlined the government’s priorities for the next five years, highlighting job creation and the development of an inclusive economy.

“We will focus on skilling youth with the skills of the future,” he said.

Youth Day commemorates the sacrifices made by South Africa’s youth during the Soweto Uprising on 16 June 1976. Mashatile’s speech reflected the government’s ongoing commitment to youth empowerment through education and employment opportunities.

Reforming NSFAS

Mashatile acknowledged the issues facing NSFAS and reassured young people that the government is committed to improving its efficiency. He stressed the importance of NSFAS in supporting students from poor and working-class families, noting that it benefits over 70% of university students and more than 90% of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students.

“We must work together,” Mashatile urged, calling for cooperation between the private sector, government, and civil society to address these challenges.

He emphasised a collective approach to provide young people with better access to quality education, basic skills, and employment opportunities, especially in rural areas.

Investing in youth and education

Despite financial challenges, Mashatile confirmed that the government continues to invest heavily in youth development. In 2023, over R31.8 billion was allocated to basic education, while R130.1 billion was invested in post-secondary education and training in 2022. These investments aim to create opportunities for youth through initiatives like the National Youth Development Agency and the Enterprise Development Programme.

“As the government, we want to see more young people actively involved in the economy and participating in decisions that affect their lives,” he said.

Mashatile contrasted the current administration’s youth-focused approach with the neglect of past governments.

The government’s comprehensive strategy to reduce youth unemployment includes formal education, internships, and support for youth entrepreneurship through the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.

“Without the employment of young people, growth cannot occur,” Mashatile remarked.

He expressed confidence that the seventh administration will continue efforts to position young people as essential drivers of economic transformation.