Survey shows unemployment crisis haunting SA youth
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Cape Town - A national survey among young people has found that the majority of youth are worried about the unemployment crisis.
According to the survey, conducted by Citizen Surveys SA, 73% of youth between the ages of 18 and 24, are concerned about unemployment while 31% were worried about poverty, and 30% about crime.
ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed said: “The focus should be on transformation and to have access to the economy.
“I feel youth are particularly challenged in the Western Cape because they are forced to deal with ageism, classism and racism.”
Statistics SA’s most recent quarterly labour force survey placed the country’s youth unemployment rate at 58.1% in the last quarter of 2019, up by 3.4% from the previous year.
Young Communist League of SA national secretary Tinyiko Ntini said: “National government has announced business relief grants for small businesses and a 40% allocation for youth empowerment in relief packages.
“However, these grants and packages have not benefited small businesses, or even young people. The national committee expressed the need to demand accountability
and ensure that young people and small businesses benefit from these packages.
“Equally, our concern is that the criteria for relief packages disadvantages some businesses in the informal sector.”
DA federal youth leader, Luyolo Mphithi said: “We need to be speaking about opening up the economy for young people and this includes the informal sector of the economy.”
Good party secretary-general Brett Herron said: “None of us should
rest until we have a country and an economy that offers every person a future.
“Imagine being a young person today - a young coloured or black person in particular - where your future is probably bleak as your education prepares you for nothing and the economy offers no prospects.
“This must be our collective outrage and our collective burden to fix. Covid-19 broke our fragile economy. Let’s rebuild one that leaves no one excluded. Economic growth on its own will not solve unemployment and exclusion.
“Offering young people a future that includes economic inclusion will require South African solidarity.”
In President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address earlier this year, he said the government needed to find new and innovative ways to support youth entrepreneurship and self-employment.
The president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Geoffrey Jacobs, said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on all South Africans but none more so than our youth. Prior to the pandemic youth unemployment was estimated to be over 52%. With Covid-19 and the hard lockdown on the economy, this situation has been exacerbated.”
A report released by the International Labour Organisation, and which tracked the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and global efforts to curb the infection rate, showed that 15- to 25-year-olds have been hardest hit by the lockdowns.
This is due to global youth employment being concentrated in severely affected sectors such as manufacturing and the hospitality industry. In the informal economy, the economic blow to this age group has been “faster and harder” the report stated.