Staff Writer- 13 June 2022
The government plans to introduce several reforms to create jobs for the country’s millions of unemployed young people, says president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Writing in his weekly open letter to the public, Ramaphosa said South Africa’s latest employment figures give some cause for optimism, with 370,000 jobs created in the first quarter of this year. However, he noted that government still has a ‘huge mountain to climb’ in its quest to create more jobs, especially for young people.
According to Stats SA, youth unemployment in South Africa is at 66.5%. “No society can expect to grow or thrive when the vast majority of its young people are out of work.
“The economic reforms we are implementing, alongside measures such as an industrial policy to support labour-intensive growth sectors, aim to drive growth and expand private sector employment. However, we cannot simply wait for higher growth to create jobs, especially for young people.
“I hold the view that even as millions of people are unemployed, there is no shortage of work to be done to build a better South Africa.”
100,000 new work opportunities
Ramaphosa said that this is the fundamental premise of his Presidential Employment Stimulus programme, which is designed as a once-in-a-generation effort to tackle unemployment at scale.
The employment stimulus is on track to support a million jobs through a wide range of programmes, all of which contribute to improving communities and creating public goods that will last beyond the work itself, he said. 84% of all participants in these programmes are young people, and 62% are women.
“The most recent initiative to be launched through the stimulus is the Social Employment Fund, which will pioneer a new and innovative approach to public employment.
“The Social Employment Fund will partner with non-governmental organisations across the country to deliver ‘work for the common good’. This work is in areas like community safety, food kitchens, urban agriculture, early childhood development and the fight against gender-based violence.”
The Social Employment Fund will create 50,000 new work opportunities in the first phase before scaling up further in subsequent phases, the president said.
He added that the revitalised National Youth Service will create a further 50,000 jobs for unemployed young people performing acts of service across the country while providing much-needed work experience and reinforcing the value of active citizenship.
“What these programmes show is that public employment can achieve multiple objectives at once. These include addressing unemployment, building skills and experience, providing public goods and services, and, perhaps most important of all, contributing to a massive national effort to improve the state of our country.
“Despite the great setback caused by Covid-19, our economy is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels. As a government, we will continue to champion programmes and initiatives that limit the impact of unemployment on young people until the private sector starts creating more jobs at scale.”
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’