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Sat Jul 30 18:57:04 SAST 2016

South African 'born frees' still in chains: IRR

Rdm News Wire | 29 April, 2015 15:25
The aftermath of a service-delivery protest in Ekangala, Mpumalanga, during which a clinic and a library were burned down File photo.
Image by: LEON SADIKI/GALLO IMAGES/CITY PRESS

The “born frees”‚ people born after 1990‚ will increasingly become more involved in violent protests and abandon democratic institutions‚ due to ongoing political and economic alienation.

This is according to the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) Born free but still in chains: South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation report.

The report provides an investigation into the extent of this alienation and what can be done to include the born frees politically‚ economically and socially.

The report was released in Johannesburg on Wednesday April 29.

According to the report “unemployment rates are higher among younger people‚ women and Africans”. On the expanded definition of unemployment‚ the rate among African males aged 15 to 24 years is 67% compared to 75% of African females.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO)‚ estimated that South Africa constitutes 0.77% of the global youth population but 1.9% of global youth unemployment.

Born frees are also receiving poor quality education. Literacy and numeracy scores in Grade 3 in this group are barely above 50%. This has a major ripple effect later on as only 51% of matric candidates pass their final school-leaving exam.

The health system has also produced mixed results when it comes to the born free population.

Severe malnutrition amongst under five year olds have dropped significantly‚ however‚ of the 1 million born frees living with HIV‚ only 25 % are receiving antiretroviral treatment.

Furthermore‚ only 74 000 of informal businesses are run by people aged 15 to 24 years old. This compares unfavourably with 384 000 of such enterprises run by 25 to 34 year olds.

Child support grants‚ of which children up to the age of 18 are entitled to‚ could diminish the incentive for born frees to become entrepreneurs. Social alienation and a lack of job opportunities may force many born frees to participate in criminal activities.

The report found that “people aged 14 to 25 years old account for 29% of the country’s prison population”.

Economic alienation could further effect political participation. Voter registration amongst 18 to 19 year olds is only 31%. Violent protests have almost doubled in the last three years and it is suspected that the economically disenfranchised youth may play a huge part in it. A survey indicated that people who have some university education but who had not completed it are the most likely to attend protests.

In order to improve the conditions of the born frees‚ the following proposals must be implemented:

The state must lessen its control over the education system and allow independent schools to thrive; The country’s economy must grow between 5% to 8% to reduce unemployment; Appointments should be based on merit rather than on race or political affiliation; Corruption and nepotism must be rooted out‚ especially in local government.

- RDM News Wire

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