The government does not have adequate resources to meet all the demands for national transformation. No amount of finance can address the growing levels of unemployment, the escalating HIV/AIDS pandemic, the growing wave of crime, violence and abuse, the high levels of illiteracy and the scarcity of adequate housing landless ness and various other development challenges. Yet the government can, and should consider investing in its underutilized human capital as a resource for development. The youth who constitute of over a third of the national population are a critical source of human capital that remains underutilized. Government has until recently least prioritized this segment of the population.
Even in the present post apartheid period, youth as a resource are still in the process of being defined and conceptualized. Hence there are limited programmes that are beginning to tap on this reservoir of human capital. The limited programmes on place tend to be fragmented and uncoordinated. The concept of youth volunteerism as part and parcel of a national programme for renewal of the underutilized human capital should urgently be explored at the national level. It is recommended that this forum should explore how best young people could be mobilized to engage in poverty reduction programmes run by government and civil society organizations.
Young people who have historically been catalysts for change, and bore the blunt of the apartheid conflicts, should not only be facilitated to take centre stage in the national development, but also they should vociferously demand in the spirit of their past struggles as their human right to participate. Their engagement in voluntary work could serve as a window of opportunity for their own development and emancipation from being perpetually labeled youth.