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JOHANNESBURG – The announcement on Tuesday that South Africa is in a technical recession is met with mixed feelings. There are some who have an “I told you so!” attitude. 

Others want to run for the hills and think that the country is one step closer to a failed state. Another group considers the recession as the dying breath of the Guptafication era, whereas a fourth group has a “wait and see” attitude.

Expendable household income has been under pressure for a long time. Consumers are questioning the high levels of wastage at State Owned Enterprises, evaporating monies that could have been used elsewhere.

The rest of Africa experience high levels of economic growth despite their own internal troubles. Seeing that countries such a Nigeria, Egypt and Ghana grow faster than South Africa, makes the country wonder what new, fantastic excuses will be offered to explain South Africa’s slump.

South Africa’s shenanigans under the Zuma regime has cost the country a significant loss of credibility. In addition, nonsensical remarks from political figures make the world wonder whether the country is a worthwhile investment destination.

For the youth of South Africa, news of a technical recession creates feelings of panic and confusion. The youth feels that they are constantly being robbed of opportunities because they feel that access to tertiary education becomes more constrained and exclusive each time there is an economic hiccup. 

The youth is already restless because graduates are unable to find jobs. A restless youth could be dangerous. There is so much emotions and hard feelings, and a wobbly economy could be a spark that creates greater levels of instability.

Slowly but surely the youth is seeing past excuses and they demand actions that will translate into real growth and not just in an attempt to redistribute limited wealth.  In the long run, economic growth stabilises a nation whereas utterance designed to increase numbers at a ballot are echoes in the moment.

For the youth it is time to establish a workeracy that helps to ensure sorely needed economic expansion.  More than ever before, getting an affordable education that is recognised by professional bodies will be a focus for the youth.

Leaders have to ask for how long will they still be willing to play politics at the expense of developing skills that the country desperately needs.

Growth Institute is a private education provider offering a range of Commercial, Technical Tourism and Hospitality Management programmes.

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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