youth day

Youth Day: This is how many youths are unemployed in South Africa

Posted by Andile Sicetsha

Youth Day rings a bit different in 2020, a year shrouded in despair and in South Africa’s context, many epic failures.

At the summit of all the adversity, is the problem that has persisted since the advent of democracy on our land.

Youth Day: South Africa’s youth has been failed by the system

The government, as well as the private sector, has continued to fail our youth. At the turn of every year, promises are made about how this time around, more job opportunities will be afforded to those aged between 18 and 35.

University graduates are warmed up with speeches about the ‘real’ world and how it takes tenacity and resilience to mount the hardships that come with being an adult.

However, what is not stressed enough is the fact that more times than not, our young population can barely get their hands on an opportunity for employment because, in South Africa, these hardly exist.

Covid-19 is the salt to a gaping wound

Prior to coronavirus (Covid-19), South Africa’s economic standing was on the downturn. Our credit outlook was tinkering on junk status and the central bank’s predictions of our future economic growth fell below 1% for 2020/2021.

One can only fathom the rate of the devastation suffered by the economy post-Covid-19. Sure, everyone from all walks of life has been affected by the deadly virus but even President Cyril Ramaphosa recognises the damage this has had on youth.

In his weekly On the President’s Desk mailers, he conceded to the carnage felt by young South Africans who are locked out of the economy. However, keeping an optimistic tone, Ramaphosa vowed to continue on his path to creating opportunities where he could.

“Through programmes like the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, the National Youth Service and many more we want to support this country’s young people to see their ideas through from incubation to opening the doors of their businesses,” he wrote.

Youth Day: How many young South Africans are unemployed

Statistics South Africa has yet to issue the updated youth unemployment statistics but according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019, approximately 8.2 million (40.1%) of South Africa’s 20.4 million young people aged 15 to 34 are not in employment.

The staggering figure is just a small glimpse into the reality faced by third of South Africa’s population. Youth Day is a day of observing the sacrifice of Hector Pieterson and other pupils who were harmed in the 1976 uprising against Bantu Education.

However, for the ruling party, it is a hard pill to swallow realising that the reality of our youth and that of the next two or three generations to come, is grim to say the least.