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Do not assume all young people need an education or distress grant, says Thuli Madonsela

06 June 2022 - 12:00
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says many young people need land and financial support. File photo.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says many young people need land and financial support. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says SA’s youth needs financial and market support and land instead of education alone.

Madonsela shared her views at the weekend after the release of the latest unemployment statistics.

“If you want to free the potential of young people do not assume they all need an education, distress grant or a job.

“If you disaggregate young people you will realise a significant number only need recognition and business support, mostly regarding finance and markets,” said Madonsela.

She said some entrepreneurial young people also need land.

“While some need fourth industrial revolution skills, there are plenty of young people with skills and engaged in skilling others for fourth industrial revolution skills challenges and opportunities who are struggling to get financial and market support.”

The latest Stats SA data showed the unemployment rate declined from a record high of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022.

This comes after the manufacturing and mining sectors added jobs and government employed more people through its public works programme. It is the first drop since the second quarter of 2020, when jobseekers were hindered by the lockdowns to slow the spread of Covid-19.

According to the latest data, an estimated 370,000 jobs were gained between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.

The biggest job gains were in community and social services, manufacturing and trade.

However, despite the 0.8% percentage point decrease, Stats SA said the youth remained vulnerable in the labour market.

The first quarter of 2022 saw the total of unemployed youth aged 15-34 declining by 0.1% (or 5,000) to 4.7-million from quarter four of 2021.

There was a noticeable increase in the number of youth in employment at 5.0%, or 244,000, during the same period.

Data also showed the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal recorded expanded unemployment rates higher than 50%.

The four provinces also had a more than 15% point difference between expanded and official unemployment rates.

“Black women are the most vulnerable, with an unemployment rate of 40.6% in Q1 of 2022. This is 4.1 percentage points higher than the national average for women at 36.4%.

“About 3.8-million (37%) out of 10.2-million young people aged 15-24 were not in employment, education or training (NEET). The overall NEET rate increased by 4.6% in Q1 of 2022 compared to Q1 of 2021,” said Stats SA.

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