MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 4
Article views: 894
Latest Badges:

View all Chriso's badges.

Youth unemployment solutions

28 February 2013, 18:53

Reading articles and listening to commentary on youth unemployment is to be welcomed as timely and provocative contribution to an under examined problem.

The failings of these are significant, in that they seem to reflect a feature general to the approach of partisan politics as a whole to this problem. There is a failure to develop a genuinely strategic outlook that can begin to transcend the usual oppositional and ‘isms’ posturing that are a glaring feature. We fail to look for points of intervention that we can relate closely to long term goals in such a way as to create the basis for moving towards the realisation of our National Development Plan goals.

Each commentator wants to overestimate the gains of their own proposed “solution”. A distinctive feature of the youth unemployment problem is the national consensus that exists in favour of urgently finding solutions to it. We are inundated with opposition parties claiming that government does not have a long term solutions to the question, but rather deal with it as a “moral issue”, and that its policies should simply be rejected, they themselves are making a moralistic rather than a politically considered point.

However; the fact that the party in government has come out clear on the matter is a measure of a degree of accountability to popular feeling and provides an important space in which all, especially youth formations, must intervene, in an attempt to develop partial strategies into something more universal.

I share the assumption that only a decisive economic shift will ultimately provide an overall answer to youth unemployment, and unemployment in general. Such a departure will presumably include measures of large scale economic development and the development of a planned investment policy linked to a job creating employment strategy.

Such policies challenge important bases of political and economic power in our society. They do so by directly (and boldly) challenging the power of private capital, and by challenging many of the assumptions, ideas and values that comprise the consent of the majority to aspects of the capitalist system.

There seems to be an unarticulated assumption that if it were not for the distorting role of the media, and a number of “reformist” and trade union leaders, the majority would be able to agree, quite naturally, on the need for decisive policies and new forms of social organisations. This is a dangerous misconception.

People are not “conned” into accepting existing social relations, but actually live them, the very conditions of their social existence constantly reaffirming their view of the world as the “neutral” view.

It is necessary, therefore, to find waysof developing political practice that can enter the actual process of people’s lives. We need to create ways capable of developing an intermediate level of intervention that can find ways of building key elements of the alternative, in practice, now. This would have to involve wide sections of people in new forms of activity that act as “bridges”, leading from their old ideas and practices, over to the possibility of being able to open up new ones.

To continue to merely proclaim or slogan monger and wait for the waters to part, is to consign ourselves to the ghetto of a permanently marginalised opposition, that refuses to intervene now in any measures aimed at dealing with youth unemployment.  This also condemns the unemployed to remaining at the mercy of the state while on the dole queue, until such times as a solution comes from above.

“Bridges” can be constructed around activities against youth unemployment by grasping the enormous opportunities offered by this government. Others may be constructed by reviewing existing programmes such as encouraging people to invest the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) into job creating projects that the unemployed can run in cooperatives. Another area that needs to be revisited is the whole disbursement of the skills fund and Sector Education & Training Authority (SETA) finances.

A strategically developed approach could create the basis for a broad alliance between labour movements, youth formations, educationists and part of the community never before involved in any kind of labour.

Many have amply illustrated the size of youth unemployment. It is particularly intractable because it is now a structural feature of our economy. If and when overall unemployment falls, youth unemployment will remain proportionately high. This is largely due to the fact that the nature of employment is changing drastically. The types of jobs traditionally available to school leavers with no qualifications are simply no longer available but taken up by graduates. As a result, people with qualifications are taking jobs below their previous expectations, when they can get them.

Any alternative programme needs to provide training that could last for about a year and also provide grants to participants. The training must take the form of work experience on employers’ premises, FET college courses, community service and a combination of these. It is encouraging that we are already having these elements in many areas.

The possibility for intervention, therefore, clearly exists. We just need to begin to form durable alliances, which can develop further over time, by enabling convergence to take place around a programme for education and training which could be brought into a relationship with the Department of Labour, for an example.

Such a programme will necessarily have much local variation, but a basis for a series of demands could be as follows:

1)   Internships or work experience training are genuinely beneficial to young people, and are not merely a form of cheap labour. Attention must be paid to trade skills and trained tutors to be involved with students on work experience.

2)   To ensure that skills are widely transferable and not suited to a narrow sector, thought in developing cognitive and analytical skills to enable young people to transfer their skills to other situations and to develop them as individuals.

3)   Must be able to enable participants to use their learnt courses to further develop and enter further education and training – post graduate studies.

4)   The young unemployed are isolated from each other, from the rest of their peers and the rest of society at large. They have no democratic channels through which they can be effective in controlling or changeling aspects of their lives. The danger is that many become permanently estranged from society’s democratic institutions. The programme must, for the first time, bring large numbers of young unemployed together thus having an opportunity to develop their collective power.

Lastly; the substance of a major part of the “struggle” against youth unemployment must be to come to grips with the education and training needs of the young unemployed, and to generate and implement concepts and practices of democratic struggle that can develop the capacity of the working class and the labour movement to unite around this question. To achieve this it is necessary to develop and implement concrete alternatives. People must move away from merely “proclaiming”, “demanding” and “exposing” and towards coming to grips with clear programmes, interventions and forging alliances.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Aurangzeb Thabethe
EFF and its tactics

The events inside the parliamentary corridors weeks ago must worry all of us.  Read more...

27 comments 1279 views
Submitted by
Abioye Olufemi
The absolute way to take Christma...

As Christmas is coming soon, I am prompted to write this Christmas article for all of us here at News24. Read more...

4 comments 227 views
Submitted by
Phiyega.....SAY WHAT?????

Clearly the Honourable Minister has abrogated the duty of the SAPS to protect the citizens of this country! What then is the purpose of the SAPS?  Read more...

9 comments 525 views
Submitted by
Genealogy of Jesus, and the probl...

The new testament writers were so kind as to leave 2 genealogies of Jesus for us to peruse, both of his father. Read more...

107 comments 913 views
Submitted by
Lee Grandmaison
Everyone is entitled to their own...

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion." If you've ever seen or been in a debate, on or offline, you've heard this phrase quite a bit. Read more...

53 comments 442 views
Submitted by
South Africa heading South

We need to speak up. We need to take a stand. We need to take action. Read more...

18 comments 1916 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25



E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2014 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.