Thu Dec 08 05:58:29 SAST 2016

Jobless youth time bomb

AMUKELANI CHAUKE | 2012-05-08 00:35:22.0
Guys looking for jobs. File photo.
Image by: Katherine Muick

A young person is three times more likely to be unemployed than an adult globally and if the disparity is not dealt with urgently economic protest will worsen.

About 125million young people around the world are living below the poverty line of $1.25 a day, a statistic that paints a bleak future.

The International Labour Organisation revealed these and other shocking statistics at the Youth Employment Summit, hosted by the National Youth Development Agency, in Boksburg,East Rand, yesterday.

Unemployment remains high at 23.9% in South Africa, and 70% of the jobless are between the ages of 15 and 34.

Globally, 200million people are out of work and 75million of them are young people who are either uneducated or lack skills, or are discouraged work-seekers.

The report said between 2007 and 2010, youth unemployment increased by 5.1million.

It also highlighted a concern that, in the same period, about 1000 youth-led protests about unemployment took place in more than 80 countries.

Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema led an economic freedom march of about 20000 unemployed youths from Johannesburg to Pretoria last year.

Vic van Vuuren, a director of the International Labour Organisation's country office in the Southern African Development Community, said swift solutions were needed to address high unemployment in South Africa.

"Creative ways have to be found and agreed upon in the short term in creating jobs for the youth.

"Longer term interventions linked to economic growth, and improved skills development and education, will also be needed for long-term sustainability, but this alone will not be adequate.

"Wage subsidies and allowing space for work-life experiences for the youth, such as internships, need to be debated and resolved," he said.

Thulani Tshefuta, president of the SA Youth Council, called for the government to introduce an alternative system to tendering, which has allowed corrupt officials to be awarded lucrative contracts, turning them into overnight millionaires despite shoddy work.


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