We Care and Fix (WCF) Programme is an initiative by Kwetso Foundation that is concerned with socio-economic strives that the youth in South Africa (especially those in rural and disadvantaged areas) faces as well as what these challenges consequently translate into in their lives and the society at large.

During the engagement and consultation, intensive observations were made in order to gather deep and informed social, economic and intellectual insights on the real issues confronting unemployed youth and their conduct, character, mindset and attitude.

The primary objective to engage and consult youth was to try and understand reasons why youth are playing a leading role in destroying and vandalizing public properties. This is a key worrying issue not only to the society but to the government too. This issue is serious and very worrying because in general, youth is expected to be the vanguard of the public properties because they are the primary beneficiaries of these public properties and the future leadership of the society.

Various public properties in local communities are and have been destroyed by youth. These are properties that are supposed to be used for their self-development, empowerment and other purposes.

The known situation happens in varied areas of our country. The reality is that no one has ever tried or not much efforts were put together to try to understand the real cause of this problem.

Public properties such as clinics, schools, community halls, multipurpose centers and community skills development centers are destroyed and vandalized during community protests and also through criminal activities.

Throughout the engagement and consultation with young people, community and community leadership, they all indicated that young people do so because of many reasons and factors of influence.

It was discovered that during community protests, young people destroy public properties so that government can listen to their grievances and challenges they face on a daily basis such as unemployment and living in the abject of poverty. Destruction of property is a cry for help.

The above mentioned issues which came out of the engagement and consultation in various rural areas and townships within the jurisdiction of Madibeng Local Municipality led to the extension of the investigation to be conducted in the Moretele Local Municipality as well. Both local municipalities are within Bojanala District Municipality in the North-West Province. The two local municipalities are rural, predominantly comprising of rural areas and farms.

The primary purpose to extend the scope of engagement and consultation to another municipality was to do a comparison on the youth actions rationale, social and economic challenges they face and other contributing factors. Furthermore, the exercise of extension of the scope was to understand the thinking attitude of youth in other areas, expression and perspectives based on the social and economic challenges they face daily.

The reasons why youth plays a leading role in destroying and vandalizing public properties were found to be similar in both Municipalities. The engagements and consultation outcomes in both local municipalities revealed that their daily challenges have also impacted negatively on their self- respect, self-esteem and confidence, consequently loss of hope in life and becoming out of touch with the society and its realities.

Amongst the key contributing factors are unemployment, poverty, lack of development prospects, dependency syndrome, substance abuse and inability to access economic opportunities and acquisition of the scarce and critical skills that will enable them to be suitable for absorption by the local labour and economic markets.

Furthermore, these challenges have even affected those who had an opportunity to further their education at tertiary level because they have not secured employment opportunities after completion of their studies.

All these challenges led to the youth forming part of the society that is economically vulnerable, leading them to engage in social misconduct.

The seriousness of the state of vulnerability of youth has been witnessed during many community protests in the townships and rural areas. This state has played and continues to play an influential role on youth, including on those with the capacity and potential to can change.

Their actions and conduct are a clear indication that something is needed to be done urgently to shape and sharpen them in order for them to see the importance of working very closely with the community and society in general, to address the societal problems and challenges.

The key and critical role of communities is to make sure that our youth do understand the critical importance of their continuous development, caring for the society and public properties. In that way, we will be building a very responsible citizenry and increase the capacity in pursuing the nation building, socio-economic transformation agenda and social cohesion. This will include instilling the character and spirit of patriotism, moral regeneration and African Renaissance.

The destroying of public properties during community protests and through criminal activities by youth is an indisputable fact that youth are failing or lacking  understanding of the important role and impact of these properties to the society they live in and their role and responsibility as part of the society to look after  them.

Amongst the reasons why youth destroy the public properties and non reflection of any sense of care to the properties is because the majority of youth is and was not part of the development of these properties during the Community Infrastructure Development Projects. As a result, the aspect of the importance of caring, protecting and maintaining the same properties will not be easily realized as very key and important to them.

All these challenges show how education and skills development and transfer are very critical to the youth. It is amongst other reasons, why it is of paramount importance to ensure that youth acquire knowledge and skills both technical and soft. This will equip and enlighten them to understand their importance to participate in the development and caring of public properties, as they will be assisting the same society they live in, with services accessibility and usage of the same properties for developmental purposes and implementation of other initiatives.

The other critical component in the youth sector is unemployed graduates who are part of the vulnerable youth. They too also have demonstrated lack of understanding of the critical role they can play in developing their society, peers or communities; by imparting the knowledge and skills they possess through volunteering in various community development and empowerment projects.

The engagement and consultation activities have also proven beyond reasonable doubt that the youth of today are not in touch with societal realities and do not see the importance of them forming part of society and taking part in the communal responsibilities of building their communities together.

In the light of the above mentioned issues, the conceptualization and birth of the We Care and Fix (WCF) Programme became an important, relevant and a strategic intervention that will address social and economic challenges of young people in local communities. The initiative will help young people to see and realize the critical importance of working closely with its community and society in general. Furthermore, the youth will be able to understand the important role they are supposed to be playing in the local economic development and become part of an active economic society. This includes them being part of the country’s force to pursue the nation building, socio-economic transformation agenda and social cohesion.

We Care and Fix (WCF) Programme is an intervention that will empower these young people with the knowledge and technical skills that are needed for infrastructure projects in their villages and communities. This programme has two levers; teaching the youth how to care for public properties; the second lever is about imparting technical skills that will enable them to be part of constructing and fixing these public properties. The WCF initiative also entails moral regeneration programmes to revive the morale and ubuntu of young people. Our belief as Kwetso Foundation is that if someone is involved in the construction of the property, it will be impossible for that person to go back and deliberately destroy and vandalize that property. This is the rationale of WCF Programme.

Any support towards the implementation of this Programme will be highly appreciated by Kwetso Foundation.