As youth unemployment figures continue to climb, President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that it has become a crisis and action needs to be taken.
About 36% – 20 million – of the population is under the age of 35, yet more than 30% of young South Africans aged between 15 and 24 are not in any form of employment, education or training.
About 46% of 25- to 34-year-olds fall into the same category. This equates to about 7.9 million youngsters out of work, education or training opportunities.
Read: SA cannot continue losing young people to poverty and unemployment
In his state of the nation speech on Thursday, the president announced that government would be implementing the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention programme, which will focus on six key areas.
The president said the first step would be creating pathways for young people to be party to the country’s economic growth. This will happen through a system where they will be able to access information about how they can increase their chances of being employed.
“Starting this month, we are launching five prototype sites in five provinces that will grow to a national network reaching three million young people through multiple channels,” the president said.
These six actions together ensure that every young person in this country has a place to go; that their energy and capabilities are harnessed,
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa believed there should be a conscious switch in the manner in which young people were prepared for employment. To do this, flexible courses would been introduced.
The government also vowed to support youth entrepreneurship and by establishing the first group for a Presidential Youth Service.
The National Youth Development Agency, in conjunction with the department of small business development, will be assisting young business owners by funding 1000 entrepreneurs in 100 days.
Ramaphosa also announced an initiative where 1% of the budget will be set aside to deal with the ever-growing unemployment rate.
“These six actions together ensure that every young person in this country has a place to go; that their energy and capabilities are harnessed,” he said.
President Ramaphosa delivered his state of the nation address two hours late because EFF MPs deliberately disrupted the sitting.
After a heated exchange between the red berets and Speaker Thandi Modise, she decided to suspend the sitting. When it resumed, the red berets decided to stage a walk-out and left the House.