Youth unemployment a national catastrophe – ANCYL

League says extra salt in the wound is the fact that number of discouraged job-seekers has risen to 249 000

ANCYL: Youth unemployment a national catastrophe

17 May 2018

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) is gutted by latest employment statistics in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday 15 May 2018.

According to the report 206 000 jobs were created mainly in six key sectors of the economy, namely Community and Social Services (95000); Manufacturing (58000); Construction (40000); Finance (30000) and Trade (36000). Shockingly, the number of people without jobs rose by a staggering 100000 to 5,98 million.

What puts salt in the wound is the fact that the number of discouraged job-seekers has has spectacularly risen to 249000. This firms that the majority of this section of society relies on social grants or pension monies from their dependents for survival or plate of food every day!

The “official” unemployment rate remains at 32,4% amongst 15 - 34 working youth age group. This makes our country a leading contender of an “Olympic Gold” medal for having a highest number of youth unemployment, followed by Greece 25,2% and Spain 22,2%. This figure makes the National Development Plan (NDP) goal of halving youth unemployment to 6% by year 2030 a mockery. This effectively means a large of young people in rural and urban areas are economically excluded and facing a prospect of a bleak future! This is catastrophe and a “ticking time bomb”, slowly imploding as evidenced by violent service delivery protests or looting of foreign national shops, mainly led by marginalized or excluded youth.

Whilst we welcome some of the bold initiatives by President Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with unemployment crisis in the country. The ANCYL strongly believes that we need a decisive shift or break from neo-liberal instruments or tools prescribed by neoliberal embedded World Bank; International Monetary Fund and Rating’s agencies, and adopt radical policies that deliver much needed jobs for our people, especially for the youth. One of our key demands as the Youth League is for the SA Reserve Bank’s mandate to be redefined to play a more activist, interventionist and developmental role in an effort to fight poverty and struggles to create decent work, as opposed to the status quo of inflation targeting.

Furthermore, Youth League calls on National Treasury to release a detailed audit on the number of “new jobs” created after the introduction of the Youth Wage Subsidy. We remain this scheme has not delivered any “new jobs”, but was used to milk the public purse and subsidize capital to continue to exploit, and reproduce poverty and inequality.

Most importantly, as the Youth League we call for the curtailing of National Treasury’s powers to determine socio-economic policy directives, outside the mandated or existing policy positions of the governing ANC or Luthuli House.

The ANCYL calls on the ANC-led government to urgently convene a Jobs Summit, in order to solicit a deeper understanding of the crisis, and provide alternative measures to mitigate the crisis in sync with the 54th National Conference resolutions, and successive electoral manifesto commitments. The summit should be inclusive of all stakeholders, namely Business; Labour; Government; and Civil Society. This will represent a “new dawn or shift” in our country to collectively confront the crisis of unemployment.

The Youth League remains a dependable champion (or voice) for decent work for the youth of South Africa.

Issued by Mlondi Mkhize, National Spokesperson, African National Congress Youth League, 17 May 2018