Youth unemployment a crisis: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the Sona in the National Assembly.

CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the unemployment rate among young people is a national crisis.

In his State of the Nation Address on Thursday in Parliament, Ramaphosa said the growth of the economy will have little value unless it creates employment on a far greater scale.

“The fact that the unemployment rate among young South Africans is more than 50-percent is a national crisis that demands urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions,” Ramaphosa said.

“And because more young people are entering the labour force every year, the economy needs to create far more jobs for youth than it currently does merely to keep the youth unemployment rate steady.

“The brutal reality is that when it comes to youth unemployment, we have to run just to remain in the same place.”

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Ramaphosa said it is essential to implement a comprehensive plan – driven and coordinated from the Presidency – to create no fewer than 2-million new jobs for young people within the next decade.

“This plan will work across government departments and all three tiers of government, in partnership with the private sector,” Ramaphosa said.

The president said government is already working with the private sector to create pathways into work for young people through scaling up existing pathway management networks.

“These are networks that allow young people who opt in increased visibility, network support and opportunities to signal their availability for jobs and self-employment,” he said.

“They make sure that youth from poorer households – and young women in particular – are empowered to take up the new opportunities."

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Ramaphosa empathized that government will continue to provide employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme, especially in labor-intensive areas such as maintenance, clearing vegetation, plugging water leaks and constructing roads.

“We will continue to develop programmes to ensure that economically excluded young people are work ready and absorbed into sectors where ‘jobs demand’ is growing,” he said.


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