SONA 2022: President on Youth Unemployment & Education 

By Somila Tiwani 

President Cyril Ramaphosa presented the 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Cape Town City Hall on February 10, 2022 at 19:00. This was the first time since our democracy’s inception that the SONA was not hosted in the National Assembly Chamber. “The fact that we are gathering here rather than in the National Assembly Chamber underscores the unusual circumstances of today,” Ramaphosa remarked in his speech. One of these ‘exceptional circumstances’ is that the Parliament burned down when New Year began, forcing the SONA’s presentation to be rescheduled. 

Ramaphosa’s priorities for the year are to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and to create jobs. The president stated that unemployment rate hit an all-time high last year. The government has taken tremendous steps to help businesses thrive as well as create employment. 

More than 2.3 million young South Africans have registered on the SAYouth.mobi which is a website for the youth to find opportunities and support. Over 600 000 young people have been placed in jobs because of these efforts. Further, the President stated that as from April 2022, the Department of Higher Education and Training will place 10 000 unemployed TVET graduates in workplaces. On the SAYouth.mobi website, more than 2.3 million young South Africans have registered to discover opportunities and assistance. As a result of these initiatives, almost 600,000 young people have been employed. In addition, the president indicated that the Department of Higher Education and Training will place 10,000 jobless TVET graduates in jobs from April 2022. 

Ramaphosa further called on the private sector to drop work experience as a hiring requirement to accommodate unemployed graduates. Many of these graduates are forced to take jobs that they did not study for. The pandemic has thrown schooling into disarray. As students return to their regular classes, the government will work tirelessly to ensure that all students and learners receive the high-quality education they deserve. 

 “Let us forge a new consensus to confront a new reality, a consensus that unites us behind our shared determination to reform our economy and rebuild our institutions.” – Ramaphosa, 2022.