Manamela: Policy to focus on jobless youth

Pretoria - The review of the national youth policy will focus on the unskilled and unemployed coloured and black youth, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela said on Monday.

"I will be using the [youth unemployment] figures in the drafting of the National Youth Policy 2015-2019 to ensure that we drive the whole of government, civil society and the private sector to invest our energies in bettering the lives of young people," Manamela said.

He was speaking following the release of a report on youth unemployment in the past 20-year period by statistician general Pali Lehohla.

The report found that black youth aged 25 to 34 had lost out on acquiring skills in the 20-year period compared to their coloured, Indian and white counterparts.

Youth unemployment was at 36.1%, with jobless youth making up 75% of the country's unemployed, Lehohla said.

There were various causes for the inadequate skills development, Lehohla said.

These included the apartheid legacy, the closure of teacher and nursing training colleges, weak administration in education (such as the non-delivery of textbooks), ineffective teaching, and the role of parents in the education of their children.

Skilled employment among whites reached 61.5% in 2014, from 42% in 1994; Indians and Asians 50.7% (26%); coloureds 22.5% (12%); and blacks 17.9% (15%).

Manamela said at least 234 000 youth graduates were unemployed.

"There are even more unemployed youth with Grade 12 and graduates from FET [Further Education and Training] colleges. Even young, skilled youth are jobless," Manamela said.

Immediate steps had to be taken to reverse the scourge.

"One of the areas that needed focus in order to influence future generations is at school level, and changing the plight for those aged seven to 19 currently in school," Manamela said.

He said pupils should be enabled and encouraged to take up science and technology subjects, especially among the black population.

The reviewed national youth policy would be signed by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe in March 2015.

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