Ramaphosa says he'll tackle youth unemployment on Youth Day

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa will launch measures to address youth unemployment on Wednesday.
  • Government will be launching a range of measures on Youth Day to create opportunities for the youth, enhance skills development and support young entrepreneurs.
  • Youth unemployment is currently at 63.3% for 15 to 24-year-olds and 41.3% for 25 to 34-year-olds.

Government will launch a range of additional measures on Youth Day to address youth unemployment, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his weekly newsletter on Monday.

According to Ramaphosa, youth unemployment is his government's biggest concern.

Two weeks ago, Statistics SA released the national unemployment figures. It makes for grim reading, with the official unemployment rate growing to a record high of 32.6%.

Among the highest unemployment rates were recorded for the youth (those aged between 15 and 24) at 63.3% and those aged between 25 and 34 at 41.3%.

"Today the greatest struggle young people wage is against unemployment, something that has worsened under the Covid-19 pandemic," Ramaphosa wrote.

"Creating more opportunities for young people, and supporting young people to access these opportunities, is government's foremost priority."

READ HERE | Sustained rolling blackouts hurt job creation

He claimed everything government did "contributes towards improving the lives of young people".

"Tackling youth unemployment requires accelerating economic growth, particularly in labour-intensive sectors, and building the capability of the state to fulfil its developmental role."

READ | Jobless youth: All plans but little to show for it

He said they were driving this agenda through a series of targeted interventions, including the Presidential Employment Stimulus.

"This week, on Youth Day, we will be launching a range of additional measures to create opportunities, enhance skills development, support young entrepreneurs and enable the full participation of young people in the economy," he wrote.

"This includes the establishment of a National Pathway Management Network, SA Youth, to make it easier for young people to view and access opportunities and receive active support to find pathways into the labour market."

The National Pathway Management Network is a partnership between:

- The National Youth Development Agency;

- Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator;

- Department of Science and Innovation;

- Department of Employment and Labour;

- Department of Higher Education and Training;

- Department of Small Business Development and;

- The Youth Employment Service

Ramaphosa said it was one of the priorities of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, which was launched last year - weeks before the lockdown. He said the programme was entering full implementation.

"The Presidential Youth Employment Intervention was built on the understanding that to address the youth unemployment crisis requires innovative thinking and strong partnerships across society.

"Its ultimate objective is to find models that work, whether in skills development or active labour market policies and to scale these models rapidly to reach as many young people as possible."

He said it recognised that young people must be at the centre of any effort to boost youth employment.

"Young people are our greatest asset and our greatest weapon in this fight."

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa will commemorate Youth Day at a hybrid event in KwaZulu-Natal.

Due to Alert Level 2 restrictions and the significant rise in Covid-19 infections, the commemoration will have a limited number of guests and key stakeholders, mainly youth, physically in attendance.

ALSO READ | The unemployment catastrophe

South Africans have been invited to tune into the event on government's digital platforms and major news channels to follow the day's commemorative activities.

The event is scheduled to start at 11:00.

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