President Cyril Ramaphosa was Zuma's deputy for nearly four years, replacing him in 2018 after he became engulfed in scandal

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday held a pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) event with youngsters, where he stressed that his administration is focused on the youth of South Africa.

The event aimed to discuss the commencement of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) and Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) programs that created over 1.7 million job opportunities.

"We are going to craft many programs and as many as we can. We did so because we wanted to give young people an opportunity to start off with their lives," the president said, SA News reported.

"Sitting here, I am rather pleased that we've set up this Youth Employment Service, where we've said to the private sector: take young people and give them a life chance opportunity by getting them to learn on the job. But we went further and we set up the PYEI, which has opened up enormous opportunities," he added.

Ramaphosa went on to talk about the 30 years of democracy in South Africa and how it has changed the lives of the youth since. He noted that young people could go to school for learning since the apartheid ended, noting that the government has also opened no-fee schools in the country.

South Africa gained independence in 1994 after the apartheid system ended in the late 20th century and Nelson Mandela became the first black president in the same year. Before the implementation of the apartheid system, South Africa was under Dutch colonization from 1652 to 1795.

"When apartheid ended, we decided that we are going to open the doors of learning for young people to go into learning institutions by their millions and having done so, we opened up no-fee schools," he said. "We decided that we are going to feed young people at school."

The president pointed out that South Africa has the biggest feeding program in the entire African continent as the schools feed nine million kids daily for five days a week.

Furthermore, he explained that the government is focused on youth's higher education, noting that NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) supports 1.2 million young people for the same.

Ramaphosa said that high education will allow more job creation for the graduates by the private sector as they can create jobs more quickly than the government sector.

"I want to see millions of young people becoming involved in various opportunities and getting into jobs. Our commitment to you, as young people, is irrevocable, it is permanent, it is there committed like no other," he concluded.