Despite hailing his government’s achievements in the last 30 years, many of democracy’s children still face great difficulties.
Yet again, President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised the unemployed youth of South Africa jobs and opportunities that will alleviate their poverty, hunger, and suffering.
“As a government, we have taken steps to address the youth unemployment challenge,” he said during the sixth administration’s last State of the Nation address in Cape Town on Thursday.
Ramaphosa delivered his 2024 State of the Nation Address (Sona) to the joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday evening.
Millions of young people aged 15 to 24 years across the country are currently not in employment, education or training.
While economic growth was essential to reduce unemployment, Ramaphosa said they could not wait to provide the work that many of democracy’s children needed.
Praising his government’s efforts, the president said they launched the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) three years ago to boost employment for the youth.
“Through this programme, we have created more than 1.7 million work and livelihood opportunities.
“Through the stimulus, we have placed more than 1 million school assistants in 23,000 schools, providing participants with valuable work experience while improving learning outcomes,” he said.
He applauded the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for setting up several initiatives to provide opportunities for young people including the National Youth Service and Youth Employment Service.
“These programmes matter because work matters to people. The NYDA has played a key role in assisting several young people to start their own businesses,” he said.
He added that a job did not only provide an income, he said it was fundamental to people’s sense of self-worth, dignity, hope, purpose and inclusion.
Furthermore, Ramaphosa, with confidence, said the number of South Africans in employment increased from 8 million in 1994 to over 16.7 million to date, stating that was three times larger than it was 30 years ago.
“Over the last two years, the number of jobs being created has been increasing every quarter, and we now have more people in employment than before the pandemic,” he said.
This is despite the country’s unemployment being the highest it has ever been.
He further highlighted that they have laid a foundation for growth through far-reaching economic reforms, an ambitious investment drive, and an infrastructure programme that was starting to yield results.
Ramaphosa said the government will work tirelessly to improve the lives of the youth by providing jobs, training and support to start up their businesses.