‘They have excluded us’: Angry graduates march against unemployment

Graduates from different higher institutions in KwaZulu-Natal gathered to protest against unemployment. Picture: Lindani Gumede
Graduates from different higher institutions in KwaZulu-Natal gathered to protest against unemployment. Picture: Lindani Gumede

Unemployed graduates took to the streets of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, to march against the lack of job opportunities in South Africa.

The march, which took place from Durban Christian Centre to Durban City Hall, attracted a lot of graduates from different higher institutions.

One of the leaders of the march, Nkululeko Ndlovu, who holds two qualifications from Mangosuthu University of Technology, said the youth had had enough and wanted to make the government aware of their struggles.

“We are educated and we have the qualifications but we are still unemployed. We want the government and private sector to accommodate us in their companies. We have been silent for far too long; the government has not included us in their plans,” said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu said the hardest thing they had to do was go back home to ask for financial assistance from their parents who had sent them to school to make their lives better.

“Our parents sent us to universities so that we can assist them financially and uplift our lives, but we still have to go back home to ask them for assistance,” he said.

“They [the government and private companies] are aware that we are unemployed. South African stats show that there is a large number of unemployed graduates in our country yet they have excluded us.”

Vukani Sishi said he had been unemployed for three years and depended on his mother’s pension money.

“I am over-qualified, the situation at home is very bad and there is nothing I can do to change that. I am a father but I cannot provide for my son. I depend on my unemployed mother who receives pension money from the government for food,” he said.

Sishi said he felt like he was being punished.

“I would like to know from the government and private sector what is it that we have done to them, because we see ourselves being punished for something we are not aware of,” he added.

One of the graduates, Portia Mthombeni, pointed out that many job advertisements require about three years experience.

“We get SMSs from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme wanting their money back. How are we expected to contribute to a greater South Africa if we cannot pay back the money we owe?”

The graduates are planning a national shutdown for next month.

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