Job creation for youth urgently needed

By Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs:

The Democratic Alliance calls on the provincial department of Economic Development & Tourism to do more to create an economic climate that is conducive for job creation. We also need the Office of the Premier to provide strategic leadership and coordination to ensure that the Northern Cape becomes a better place to do business in.

Job creation, especially for the youth, is urgently needed in the Northern Cape. Our levels of youth unemployment have increased by 11% in only six years. If we do not act today, we will have a social and financial catastrophe tomorrow.

Youth unemployment has reached its highest levels since 2008 and now stands at 45%. This is according to the national and provincial labour market report released by StatsSA yesterday. Earlier research has also indicated that the Northern Cape has some of the lowest job security levels in the country.

The Democratic Alliance believes that youth unemployment is one of the biggest threats to building a truly democratic South Africa. In the Western Cape, an internship model has been adopted by the provincial government which has seen the creation of 18 000 opportunities for young people. The job experience helps them to access more opportunities in the labour market.

We are emboldened by the spirit of our youth, who remain optimistic.

While almost half of our youth are unemployed, only 6% are discouraged workers. This is even more remarkable when one considers that provinces with better levels of youth employment have higher levels of discouraged workers. Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have youth unemployment levels that are up to 10% lower than the Northern Cape, but 12% of their youth are discouraged.

The youth are there and willing to work. They are simply waiting for the right conditions to be created.

What is concerning is that women are more likely to become discouraged than men. It is probably influenced by the fact that black women are much more likely to be unemployed than any other group. We need to ensure that women are not being prevented from entering the labour market.