Six million struggling for jobs in SA – Vavi

2011-06-07 07:16

Six million South Africans want jobs but cannot find them, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said last night.

“Most of them are young black women without education and skills,” he said at a discussion at the University of Johannesburg.

“They face a lifetime of poverty. This is what I have called a ticking bomb.”

Vavi said thousands of South Africans felt marginalised and ignored “living in slum shacks, collecting water from taps in the street, even having to use bucket toilets”.

“This has led to a growing number of service delivery protests.”

He said South Africa had been slower than other countries in eradicating poverty.

“India has shown us a way to defuse that bomb.”

In 2005, India implemented a scheme which gave every rural household the right to 100 days of employment (manual labour) a year at a minimum wage.

With over 55 million participants, it had become one of the largest poverty programmes in history and had provided over two billion person-days of work, 48 percent of which had gone to women.

“It has reduced hunger, raised self-esteem, advanced women, strengthened civil society, and despite problems with fraud, which we in South Africa are unfortunately also familiar with, introduced new mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability,” said Vavi.

He hoped South Africa could move towards a more radical programme to get young people working and to eradicate poverty.

“South Africa has been slower off the block. Yes, there have been similar schemes ... but much more needs to be done to give our young people hope for a better future,” said Vavi.

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