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27 April 2023 - Mpumelelo Maphalala

Image: sabc news

Today South Africa celebrates 29 years of democracy, but many young South Africans don’t feel they have anything worth celebrating. Many feel that economic challenges like the lack of economic growth, unemployment, high cost of living and lack of electricity are hindering them from reaching their full potential.

Among the many reflections brought about by Freedom Day is economic freedom. On the streets of Maboneng in Johannesburg, young people are despondent, saying there’s not much to celebrate, especially with the kind of challenges they face daily.

“It is Freedom Day today. We are celebrating 29 years but the core issue that is concerning me is electricity,” a young person said.

“We still have people who are living in shacks,” another young person explains.

“Economic freedom for youth, I don’t see it in any kind of way. The government is lacking in all sorts of ways,” another young person reiterates.

In his official speech for Freedom Day celebrations, President Cyril Ramaphosa reassured the nation that measures such as the investment drive are being put in place to combat inequalities and factors that hinder the economy and make it less attractive to investors.

But some youth feel more government intervention is needed to upskill the youth so that they can fend for themselves.

“In my view, I think they (government) need to put more funding on the youth development. It’s needed,” a young person said.

According to the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation, South Africa’s economic freedom score sits at 55.7%, making its economy the 116th freest in the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom out of 184 countries. It’s also ranked 17th out of 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is below the world average, alongside its African counterparts such as Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’


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