Millions of young people in South Africa do not have formal education or any form of training that could assist them in securing an employment. A report was released by Statistics SA in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), stating that just over an approximated 8 million out of 20.4 million youth in South Africa are without a job. The youth unemployment rate is only expected to rise henceforth due to the lockdown if the government does inject more money to agencies like the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) that tries to curb the rate from rising.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has encumbered economic development and prospects aimed to improve the lives of young citizens in South Africa. NYDA CEO, Waseem Carrim told Madibaz Radio on the COVID-19 report that they have been tasked by the government to offer relief funds to youth of South Africa during the pandemic and lockdown. This forms part of the development of the youth intervention plan that was announced by the President, Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address (SONA). This comprehensive intervention plan includes paid internships, opening of space that offers young people working experience and agile skills development. “the government has been trying to assist the youth of South Africa in many ways, one recent way was when they offered a special grant to the unemployed,” Carrim said.
The NYDA has a limited budget that they can spend to help young people and that is a backfoot as the budget cannot stretch to the lengths where all expectations of the youth will be met. When a relief fund was established by the agency, almost eight thousand of applications were received and only one thousand could be assisted. However, the NYDA still remain relevant and committed to assist the youth by running a handful of initiatives to meet the youth halfway such as assisting the youth in applying for the relief fund.
The NYDA CEO says that the COVID-19 pandemic has in the same breath helped the agency and the government set foot towards a positive path as far as the youth is concerned, “as much as the COVID-19 comes with its own challenges it also gives us a reason to be hopeful for the future.”
Waseem Carrim encourages the youth to be more active and entrepreneurial in their communities as employment in South Africa will remain an issue for some time and mostly affecting them.
By Ashley Malepe