While the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) joins the nation in celebrating the 41st anniversary of Youth Day on Friday under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”, it has also found it opportune to appeal to both the public and private sectors of our economy to give employment and skills training opportunities to young people who bear the brunt of high levels of unemployment in the country.
FEDUSA is keenly aware of the fact that it is the young people of our country who are hardest hit by the current stagnation of the economy and the crisis in the labour market, and due largely to a lack of experience; they are usually the first to feel the consequences of an increase in unemployment.
“In celebrating Youth Day and Month, we need to take cognisance of the fact that South African youth are in dire need of getting out of the current triple economic challenges facing our nation, that is, unemployment, poverty and inequality. Not only do our youth need job opportunities that are decent but also require resources and platforms that will assist them to start their own businesses so as to contribute in creating employment,” said FEDUSA Vice President Development, Jacques Hugo.
“Therefore, to advance youth economic development in South Africa we need to prioritise youth empowerment through the provision of quality education, decent job opportunities and resources that will facilitate entrepreneurship”.
FEDUSA continues to be a staunch supporter of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) Programme in particular and welcomed government’s extension of the scheme by another two – year period in December 2016, to afford social partners at NEDLAC with the opportunity to critically analyse the outcome and uptake of the scheme which encourages youth employment by both small and large businesses.
Moreover, FEDUSA also supports the Youth Employment Scheme (YES) Programme, by providing unemployed youth with an opportunity to obtain gainful paid work opportunities and / or experiences (Internships) with South African Business and thereby obtain a bona fide work experience, income and the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to improve their career prospects in the future.
Hugo said it is regrettable that there is such a dearth of job opportunities in South Africa to the extent that even those young people with university education or other tertiary qualifications find themselves having to accept any job offers rather than those that they were trained for. A lot of young people that FEDUSA have talked to, have pointed out that there is a lot of nepotism when it comes to applying for government jobs at all the three spheres: local, provincial and national.
Young people also believe that the lack of sporting and other cultural facilities in the townships and rural areas in particular that starkly lack infrastructure, has given risen to many social ills involving young people such as armed robberies, drugs, alcohol abuse, femicide, HIV and AIDS and teenage pregnancies.
“How can the voices of our young leaders be heard when society has over the past few weeks been entangled psychologically in pain and suffering emanating from murders of women at the hands of their loved ones ; children found buried in their playgrounds ; child trafficking, abduction, kidnapping and sexual exploitation?,” asked Hugo
“Moreover, the safety net of our education institutions are no longer feasible when bullying and other forms of psychological trauma perpetually infests itself in the negative cycle of violence that threatens to engulf our society. Similarly, our higher education institutions are no longer safe when sexual predators lurk around and threaten to destroy the prospects of a bright future. We need to go back to basics and embrace the philosophy that Your Child is My Child”.
Hugo added that as things stands, South Africa is at risk of losing a generation of workers and future leaders to the unemployment crisis, and pleaded with social partner leaders to develop and implement targeted interventions for youth employment.
“There is a stall in the policy development process among social partners in South Africa, which has come to mean that we are still to define and adopt a relevant youth employment programme,” concluded Hugo.
“Simultaneously the youth are silent in the determination and development of such a strategy. The proposed interventions are developed within social dialogue among adult social partners, and the voice of the youth is not integrated into such dialogue. Essentially, there should be nothing for them, without them”.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
For interviews please contact:
FEDUSA Vice President Development
Cell: 083 263 2566
FEDUSA Deputy President
Cell: 082 856 2496
FEDUSA Acting General Secretary
Cell: 079 696 2625