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The ANC Youth League has responded to the latest unemployment figures by blasting the government for failing to demonstrate the “commitment” and “clear will” required to deal decisively with the jobless plight of young South Africans.
Stats SA’s latest Labour Force Survey, released last Tuesday, indicated that formal unemployment rose to more than 25 percent in the first quarter of 2012, up from 23.9 percent in December.
National Treasury figures put unemployment among 18 to 30-year-olds at about 42 percent.
Still recovering from the power vacuum left by the expulsion of its president, Julius Malema, the new youth league leadership, under deputy Ronald Lamola, issued a strongly worded statement on Sunday night accusing the government of “managing the status quo” without seeking to “fundamentally alter the structure of the economy”.
Structural change would require the “nationalisation of strategic sectors and the commanding heights of the economy”, including “greater ownership and control” of, among others, petrochemical giant Sasol.
The youth league also wants the state to “own and control” the “cement industry” as well as steel giant ArcelorMittal SA. And there should be a “reliable state oil company” and a “state bank”.
President Jacob Zuma’s administration should also do away with constitutionally protected property rights so that the state can “expropriate property, particularly land, without compensation for redistribution in the public interest and for public purpose”.
Finally, the government should enact “urgent policies” to help communities grow their own food and feed themselves and their immediate schools, hospitals and prisons, the league urged.
Referring to its “economic freedom march” from Joburg to the Union Buildings last year, the league said it was still waiting for a response from “those in power”.
“For us, this demonstrates a lack of commitment and clear will to deal decisively with redress and the plight of youth”, said the league.