During the first quarter of the year, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported that the unemployment rate was at 26.6 percent, with the Institute for Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) also reporting that structural unemployment was one of the top five risks that South Africa is facing.

Addressing the issue of youth unemployment on his “first” State of Nation Address (SONA) President Cyril Ramaphosa, highlighted new plans to put youth to work.

According to SA News, Ramaphosa said that the country was moving towards implementing Vision 2030, where government will place a special focus on youth development and employment.

“The fact that unemployment rate among young South Africans is more than 50 percent is a national crisis that demands urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions,” he said.

The President added that government will expand the National Youth Service (NYS), which is under the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to take on 50 000 young people a year. The government should proceed without delay to implement a comprehensive plan which will be driven and coordinated from the Presidency, Ramaphosa noted.

“This plan will work across government departments and all three tiers of government, in partnership with the private sector,” he explained.

Furthermore he added that government has already started working with the private sector to create pathways into working for young people through scaling up existing pathway management networks, which will allow young people who opt-in increased visibility, network support and opportunities to signal their availability for jobs and self-employment.

SA News adds that government will continue to provide employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme in labour intensive areas like maintenance, clearing vegetation, plugging water leaks and constructing roads.

“We will expand our programmes to enable young people to gain paid work experience through initiatives like the Youth Employment Service, and also facilitating work-based internships for graduates of technical and vocational programmes,” added the President.

He continued to say that government will be rolling out small business incubation centres to provide youth-driven startups with financial and technical advice as they begin their journeys.

“We call on all South Africans to deliberately and consistently buy locally-made goods. Let us all buy locally-made goods to drive up demand in our economy. We have to support the fire of entrepreneurship, because the fortunes of this country depend on the energies and creative talent of our young people,” he concluded.

[Source – SA News] [Image – Annie Spratt on Unsplash]