South Africa owes a huge debt to its younger citizens, as work and job opportunities are far between for our millennial generation. As part of the Youth Day celebrations, we must all recognise the enormous potential of our children and our learners. But the reality is grim for the millions of go-getters struggling to land a job.
Youth unemployment is worse in South Africa than it is anywhere else in the world. It is almost double the rate of unemployment as a whole in the country. Our future leaders and change-drivers deserve better, and it’s something Mmusi Maimane is confident of delivering – should the DA ever be voted into power.
Youth Day in South Africa
Maimane has shared a list of six strategies he believes would kickstart the economy for our young workforce, creating jobs and careers in abundance. In a communication shared on Sunday, he reeled off some pretty devastating figures:
“This disadvantage follows many young people for the rest of their lives as today two-thirds of South Africans under the age of 24 cannot find work, and many of them eventually give up looking. Since 2008, at least 563 young people have joined the ranks of the unemployed each day.”
Mmusi Maimane plans to cut unemployment
But, when it comes to talking about problems, Mmusi Maimane has come equipped with some solutions. That’s how he sees it, anyway. His plans to stimulate the jobs market for the under-30s include huge legislative and educational alterations. But, if the spirit of Youth Day has taught us anything, it’s that change doesn’t have to be feared.
Here’s what Maimane and the DA are proposing:
- Introduce a Jobs Bill: Grant foreign companies tax incentives for creating work that’s accessible to unemployed South Africans.
- Bring in National Civilian Service: Give unemployed matriculants a year of work experience in healthcare, education or policing.
- Roll out the Job Centres Project: Locations where unemployed people can access the internet, search a centralised jobs database, get help in compiling their CV, and complete short courses in relevant industry fields.
- Make coding compulsory in schools: The subject would increase the computer literacy of young SA students.
- Overhaul schooling: Improve early developments centres, revive the basic education system and subsidise university funding for the poor.
- Hold teachers “more accountable”: Bring in a proper system of evaluation and assessment for our educators.
The legacy of Youth Day
There are some elements that are likely to spark debate: Work experience is a good idea in theory, but it could lead to the exploitation of thousands of job seekers. Meanwhile, teachers are already under a lot of stress to perform, and breathing further down their necks risks pressuring educators even further.
Youth Day is a bittersweet day for us all: We remember the brave souls who fought and died for their rights in the Soweto Uprising, and the nation must deliver a better future for all to honour their memory. Whether these proposals are the best way to do this remains open to debate.