Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country needs to break the chains of economic exclusion in order to afford young people a chance to gain employment.
Addressing delegates of the National Planning Commission’s conference on youth employment at the Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch on Monday, the Deputy President said all South Africans needed to work together to grow the economy and reduce stubborn levels of unemployment, especially amongst young people.
“Young people from disadvantaged communities struggle to access opportunities and this leaves them hugely marginalised.
“These young people do not have the financial means or professional networks to access work opportunities in the formal economy.
“We need to break the cycle of exclusion and inequality. We need to harness the potential and unearth the talent of young people,” the Deputy President said in a pre-recorded message, as he was unable to attend the event in person due to other engagements.
According to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), unemployment stood at 25.5% in the second quarter of 2014. While adults contributed 16% to the rate, unemployment amongst young people remains at high levels of 36%.
Central to the challenge, which is prevalent amongst black youths, is the lack of education and skills training. This leaves them vulnerable to economic exclusion and unbearable poverty levels.
The Deputy President said this needed to change.
He said the National Development Plan (NDP), South Africa’s plan to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality by the year 2030, prescribed a package of interventions in a bid to make it easier for the public and private sectors to provide employment to young people.
This includes government’s youth employment incentive schemes, which offers tax breaks to employers who give young people employment opportunities.
The Deputy President called on employers to contribute to the drive to create jobs.
“To advance inclusive youth employment, we all need to play a part. We need bold action and courageous leadership at all levels.
“We call on the employers to rise to this important national challenge by taking on young people as first time employees…”
He added that the NDP has put forward various interventions to address this problem.
“The plan focuses our efforts to ensure that we grow our economy, that we create jobs and that we provide young people with real productive opportunities.
“We also want to promote entrepreneurship amongst young people … because we need to unlock [their full potential,” he said.
The two-day conference will look at what the NDP proposes to tackle youth unemployment, and also seek ways of accelerating inclusive job creation. – SAnews.gov.za