MOST youths from Bell Mine in Silobela's Grasslands resettlement area failed to proceed beyond Grade 7 as they did not have birth certificates because of Gukurahundi, a youth-based organisation has claimed.

The Youth Agenda Trust (YAT) said as a result, youths in the area faced a hopeless future, adding it was pushing authorities to ensure they obtained identity particulars.

Silobela was affected by the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide that saw innocent civilians being massacred by the North Korea- trained 5 Brigade.

"The youths say despite the Constitution providing for the right to identity, they are struggling to obtain national identity documents as some of their parents were killed when the mine collapsed several years ago. Some of the parents were also killed during the Gukurahundi period of the late 1980s. The youths said they had been visiting the Registrar-General's office for assistance, but they have been turned away and told to bring their parents' identity documents, a situation they say has denied them an opportunity to take part in national processes, including the right to vote," the YAT said in a statement after holding a constitutional literacy indaba in the area on Saturday.

The YAT said it had helped people in the mining community to establish a taskforce mandated with lobbying policymakers and duty bearers on their behalf to ensure youths obtained identity particulars.

An investigation by YAT revealed that schoolchildren in the area were not able to attend school beyond the primary level because they did not have birth certificates.

"The youths, most of who showed they were out of touch with current affairs, said they were desperately waiting to be issued with identity cards so that they could be able to look for jobs and fend for their families.

"The youths said most families were now child-headed and it was difficult for them to make ends meet without identity particulars," YAT added.





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