Dr Pali Lehohla, statistician-general, talks to the media after addressing the 11th Annual Higher Education Conference yesterday.
Dr Pali Lehohla, statistician-general, talks to the media after addressing the 11th Annual Higher Education Conference yesterday.

No plan in place for SA youth, statistician-general says

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Sep 28, 2017

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SOUTH Africa is on the brink of a demographic disaster.

This is according to Dr Pali Lehohla, statistician-general at Statistics SA.

Lehohla yesterday delivered a keynote address on the Demographic Dividend South Africa at the 11th annual Higher Education Conference, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Lehohla said the concept of a demographic dividend was based on the link between a country’s demographic profile and its potential for an increase in economic growth.

“Typically, starting from a position of a high fertility rate and a relatively large, young population, if there is a decline in the country’s fertility rate over time, there follows an increase in its working-age ratio, which is the population of working age (15to 64years) as a percentage of the total population,” he said.

According to Lehohla, there are only a few skilled people in the country.

“The demographic disaster is largely mitigated on the cocktail of resources that are deployed in terms of water, sanitation, housing and so on. In relation to higher education, skills are required to build things.

“The role of education is very important because you can only invent when your brain is stimulated. You need education to understand the complex systems around you.

“Education further stimulates the human race and if not stimulated, the brain goes to waste,” he said.

Lehohla said in the case of skilled people battling to get into the workforce, there were many determinants to take into consideration.

“What is necessary in a working situation is for us to be alive to these determinants. There has to be planning involved. Countries like China and Korea have solutions to eliminating poverty and we need to adopt the same idea. In South Africa, we do not have such planning,” he said.

In South Africa, Lehohla said there was no plan in place for the youth.

“In Asia, they have exploited the youth bulge by increasing the number of children that a country can have.

“By this they are able to fuel their economy through domestic consumption. They have sat and thought out this process.

"In SA, we have a problem with not confronting plans. If you do not have a plan, you cannot expect miracles to happen."

Daily News

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