3.3m faces of unemployment - Luyolo Mphithi

DA Youth Leader says devastating truth is that more than 50% of our youth are without jobs

Our Youth: The 3.3 million faces of unemployment

13 June 2018

We live in a beautiful country with so much potential where each and every young South African should be able to realise their dreams.

But sometimes I get very sad and despondent.

I get sad about the millions of young South Africans who so desperately want to be able to get up every morning and go to a place of employment. Who want to be able to do a job that will enable them to provide for themselves and their families. Who want to do a job that can provide them with the dignity that they deserve.

The devastating truth is that more than 50% of our youth are without jobs.

This is a terrible indictment on the ANC. After 24 years of democracy, the young people of South Africa are still provided with an education that does prepare them sufficiently for the job market.

Millions of South Africans cannot read or write. Schools are not places of safety and every now and again we read about teachers preying on vulnerable children. Schools don't have the proper infrastructure and thousands of children must still use pit toilets every day.

And the worst part of it all, is that the ANC government is still not doing what they should to improve our schools and our education system. Every day that they do nothing about this, they condemn our youth to an undignified future of joblessness, poverty and powerlessness.

But there are rays of hope. And here in the Western Cape today, I experienced some hope.

Today I visited the Youth Café here in Mitchells Plain where young people are provided with skills development and support in digital training, business entrepreneurship, event management, project management and life skills.

More than this, the café offers direct access to government services and support to the youth of Michells Plain. The Western Cape has rolled out these Youth Cafés throughout the Western Cape and today we have presence in George, Nyanga, Oudtshoorn, Vangate Mall, Vrygond and Great Brak River.

The Western Cape Government has also created Youth Hubs in the City of Cape Town where young people can develop their CVs, find internships, complete job readiness workshops and have access to social services that help with substance abuse and personal problems.

Today it became very clear to me why the Western Cape under a DA government has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and have managed to increase employment by 100 000 year on year.

It is because where the DA governs, we use our government resources to create jobs and opportunities for young people and we do not allow a select few to enrich themselves with the people’s money.

The DA Youth understands that you cannot address unemployment through the narrow-minded thinking of the ANC. We cannot fix a broken system with EPWPs which are not sustainable and grand elusive schemes such as the NYDA which is not accessible to the everyday person.

With the elections coming up next year, every young South Africa will have the chance to register and to vote. The choice at the ballot box will be more of the same ANC incompetence and corruption, or alternatively a choice for Change for all South Africans where the DA vision for the youth can become a reality.

The youth also have a mamoth role in fighting against racism masquerading as radicalism. We must also stand against homophobia and the abuse of women and children.

Our vision for the youth is one where we are:

- Freed from the corrupt system;

- Safe from criminals;

- Enjoying access to quality education; and

- Have access to jobs

We will give life to our vision by laws and policies that change the lives of young people on the ground. A DA government would:

- Have access to a national civilian service programme which would provide young school-leavers an opportunity to receive industry training in the fields of their choice;

- Provide free higher education for students who are unable to afford it; and

- Grow the economy to enable true access to jobs and oher job opportunities such as the EPWP programme and the Vukuzakhe programme which partners school leavers and the private sector.

In 1976 the students of Soweto took to the streets to be freed from a corrupt system, and today our youth will do the same. The fight against joblessness can be fought and won at the ballot box.

That is why it is important that all young people register to vote. To vote in this coming election, young South Africans must be registered to vote. Change has never been needed so urgently for the youth.

Issued by Luyolo Mphithi, DA Youth Leader, 13 June 2018