The Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund (SMSF) with initial capital of R10m will be launched on 14 March, says President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma has announced a new bursary fund for rural students. Image: GCIS
"The fund will be run by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and provide financial support to youth primarily in rural areas," Zuma said.
He was speaking at the inaugural Presidential Youth Indaba on Jobs and Skills in Boksburg over the weekend.
The fund serves as a living memorial to freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu who died in 1979.
The R10m fund's purpose is to provide financial support to youth to enable them to pursue quality education at an institution of higher learning. Youth in rural areas are the primary focus for this fund.Investment in education
It is accessible to deserving South African youth who meet the minimum entry requirements set by the NYDA - youth who have been admitted for study at credible universities and universities of technology, either local and international.
One of the objectives of the fund is to increase the chances of getting a job based on the positive correlation between the level of education and the candidate's ability to be employed. Applications for the fund closed in September last year.
Government is investing heavily in education in a country that has a very high unemployment rate among the youth.
At the opening of the Indaba last week, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said that progress has been made in the last nine months since the signing of the Youth Accord in April 2013.
"The employment of young people has accelerated. There are now just over 6.1m youth who are employed. Since the signing, youth employment [people under 35] rose by 420,000, the biggest rise in youth employment in a long, long time," said Patel.
The Accord makes several commitments to improve education and skilling of young people, and helping them to find jobs and start their businesses. In it, government also commits to increase the number of people employed in the public sector, while certain industries are to set youth development targets.