Ramaphosa urges young people to avoid drugs

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Cabinet changes, school infrastructure, the economy and poverty were just some issues discussed between seventy girl learners and the country’s number one.

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted learners from various schools as part of the annual Take A Girl Child initiative. It seeks to expose girl children to a work environment and positive role models.

The President has urged young South Africans to make better choices and avoid using drugs. Fourteen-year-old Kololo Ngokoane from Phelindaba Secondary school one day dreams of becoming a world class pilot. The Grade 9 pupil, who is looked after by her sister, had the opportunity to be hosted by the country’s first citizen, something she says has been an experience she’ll grab by the horns.

“I’m going to take this opportunity and make sure I make it work. Nothing will stop me,” says Ngokoane.

Ramaphosa has told young people at the Union Buildings in Pretoria that taking drugs lead to harmful consequences.

“How will we solve the drugs problem? Yes, we do have a drug problem in RSA. Nyaope, cocaine and young people are falling for it in large numbers and this is devastating their lives and their families. Now, we are addressing it, but we also know it is not the criminal system that is addressing it, but also from a community-based point of view. We need communities to know the dangers of drug abuse and young people like yourselves in your schools, you should have programs and outreach activities that are going to make sure that you are aware of the dangers of drug abuse.”

In his engagement with the girl learners, President Ramaphosa was not spared from difficult questions pertaining his recent cabinet announcement and many other issues.

“Mr President why did you not make Panyaza Lesufi Minister of Basic Education,” asked Ngokoane.

Ramaphosa replies: “Panyaza is a very good and effective MEC… this cabinet will endure that it serves the interest of South Africans.”

Another participant, who is in her final high school year, lauds government for this initiative and efforts made to ensure that young girls are empowered.

Royal College’s Grade 12 pupil, Mandy Ntsoelengoe says, “I’m really happy about this opportunity… I’m glad the president’s cabinet has 50% of women.”

President Ramaphosa further revealed plans on establishing a presidential book club soon.

Ramaphosa urged girl-learners to work very hard and grasp opportunities presented to them. He further says government which has prioritised education will pick up the pace in improving South African schools.