Join Hands for Jobs
Parliamentarians across the board must join hands to prioritise jobs for young people if South Africa is to deal with the numerous challenges faced by the youth sector.
This became clear in the National Assembly on Thursday as MPs debated Youth Day under the theme ““Education, learning to address Youth unemployment, poverty and inequality.”
Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi (ANC), congratulated the youngest MP in the House, Mr Mduduzi Manana, who was recently appointed Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training.
Talking about the youth of 1976, Ms Kubayi stated that in order to build a better future it was important not to forget the past. This year’s Youth Day theme focused on education as a tool to change the lives of ordinary people. That made it as relevant to the youth of 1976, as it was to today’s young people. Ms Kubayi said it was vital that the Deputy President’s call to “support war on poverty,” was supported by all political parties.
In his maiden speech in Parliament, new member Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa said it was important to salute the youth of 1976 for their courage and sacrifice, and to prioritize education. He agreed with the DA speakers who stated that a youth wage subsidy should be urgently implemented.
Mr Hlengwa said Further Education and Training colleges should be refurbished.
The unemployment figure in the country was above 25% and over 70% of comprised young people. “This poses a huge challenge as most these young people are unskilled and therefore they have fewer chances of being absorbed by the market. We need to call on the private sector to ‘stop being spectators’ and instead to partner with institutions of higher education, especially FET colleges, to provide young people with workplace experience.” Companies should give serious attention to mentoring programmes that would support the absorption of young people into the economy, he added.
Mr Geordin Hill-Lewis (DA) agreed that working together was essential in trying to beat youth unemployment. He said countless studies in developing countries had shown that if a young person kept a job for at least one year, they stood a good chance of being employed for the rest of their working lives. The research also showed that if someone did not find employment within three years of graduating, they were more likely to remain without jobs indefinitely. With this in mind, it was important to implement the youth wage subsidy. “It is not the panacea, but it does open the job market door to first-time job seekers, just enough for them to get a foot in,” Mr Hill-Lewis said.