Millions of unemployed youths need sweeping structural transformation
Proposals for creating jobs put forward during countrywide workshops are unlikely to resolve catastrophe
It is hard to convey the depth of the catastrophe that is SA’s youth unemployment crisis. It is so big, it brings to mind the insight often attributed to mass murderer Josef Stalin that one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic. There are 7.5-million people between the ages of 15 and 34 who are not in employment, education or training (Neets). It comprises about 40% of all young people. Although this number is even bigger than the enormous number of 5.8-million unemployed young people, we think 7.5-million is the right number on which to focus. This is not to sensationalise the challenge, but to emphasise it is not just jobs that young unemployed people need, it is appropriate opportunities for work-related training too. The province with the biggest share of the country’s employed people is Gauteng, where just more than 5-million people have jobs — 2.5-million fewer than the number of youthful Neets. The number of Neets is twice the number of people employed in th...