by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa believes social employment offers young people hope and opportunities as South Africa faces severe joblessness.
Young people are worst impacted by the lack of jobs and other economic challenges, ahead of the country commemorating the 46th anniversary of the Soweto uprisings.
Youths led the revolution, marked in modern day South Africa as Youth Day yearly on June 16.
Ramaphosa said although government had made substantial progress in broadening opportunities for young people in basic and higher education, millions of young people remain unemployed.
According to Statistics South Africa, youth unemployment locally is at 66,5 percent.
“No society can expect to grow or thrive when the vast majority of its young people are out of work,” Ramaphosa said.
He however noted the latest employment figures gave some optimism. Some 370 000 jobs were created in the first quarter of this year.
Among initiatives the president is pinning government’s hope in include the Presidential Employment Stimulus.
It is on track to support a million jobs through a wide range of programmes, all of which contribute to improving communities and creating public goods that will last beyond the work itself.
Some 84 percent of participants are young people, and 62 percent women.
The most recent initiative to be launched through the stimulus is the Social Employment Fund, set to pioneer a new and innovative approach to public employment.
The Social Employment Fund is poised create 50 000 new work opportunities in the first phase.
Ramaphosa said there was more to social employment than providing income for participants by supporting locally-driven initiatives to fulfill local needs.
“Social employment can also unlock creativity and agency, build local participation and strengthen mutual support systems in communities,” he said.
The National Youth Service has also been revitalized.
Ramaphosa was writing in his weekly letter, released on Monday.
– CAJ News