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Sat Nov 22 23:23:19 CAT 2014

There is a holiday for women, but where are the jobs?

The Times Editorial | 08 August, 2012 00:19

The Times Editorial: When the National Planning Commission's Trevor Manuel diagnosed the challenges that beset South Africa, he told the story of a young school-leaver named Thandi.

According to Manuel, without action and assistance, Thandi is destined to spend the rest of her life mired in penury and hopelessness, without any hope for social and economic advancement.

While she might be fictional , millions of real Thandis exist in this country.

As we celebrate Women's Day tomorrow, as we listen to flowery speeches about the achievements of women in this country and hold up examples like Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the new head of the African Union, we might wish to contemplate the vast challenges that await all our Thandis.

While our politicians are hung up about the youth wage subsidy, the dire need for job creation among young people continues unabated.

It is in this group, in the millions of young unemployed people, that our biggest challenges lie - but the government seems stumped about what to do.

The proposed youth wage subsidy remains stuck at the National Economic Development and Labour Council more than two years after President Jacob Zuma first mentioned the notion.

Within a few months, we'll have a new crop of matriculants without prospects, and the number of Thandis continues to grow.

These are the young people who marched for economic freedom with axed ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, who are susceptible to crime and protest action because their future is barren.

For them, this is an inhospitable country, one that is hostile to whatever meagre chances of advancement they have.

While they are supposed to be the inheritors of the new South Africa, they are, in fact, its victims. What, if anything, is there for them to celebrate tomorrow?

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