TO MY MIND
These are young, talented people with the first level of skills and a burning ambition to use them. Most will not be able to. That’s souldestroying...
MOST PARENTS LIVE through matric exams with their children. They witness the long nights, hard work, tension before writing exams. Then the agonising wait for results and, finally... jubilation for many as the hard work pays off and they get the results they were aiming for. But now the parties are over and for those matriculants who aren’t moving on to tertiary education, it’s a cold dawn as they face the icy chill of joblessness. Forecasts are frightening. For example, employment agency Adcorp estimates only one in 10 of the 2010 class will find a job. What happens to the rest?
Outside the rhetoric, Government isn’t going to create many jobs. And it shouldn’t be, either. Rather get the many flaccid State and provincial departments working properly. That might open up some employment opportunities.
Most large companies in the formal sector are shedding jobs. Some ideologue will probably sprout some nonsense about it only being privileged people who can pass matric. It’s not: ask the parents of some of those matriculants in the townships who had to study without the benefit of electricity. And there lies the real tragedy. These are young, talented people with the first level of skills and a burning ambition to use them. Most will not be able to. That’s soul-destroying...
Advice from seasoned capitalists will be for them to create their own jobs, become entrepreneurs. That’s a nice ideal. But just how practical is it when even experienced entrepreneurs battle to raise bank finance? Banks in South Africa, like banks in the Western World, enjoy a special business status. Our banks were spared the credit crunch that saw so many banks overseas bailed out by their governments. But SA’s banks here also have been bailed out: many readers will remember the Bankorp lifeboat.
But there are two sides to this special status, and banks – while remaining a business with shareholders – need to start funding entrepreneurs. And really funding them – along with the necessary risk – rather than rolling out platitudes and statistics. The banks also need to provide more mortgages to lower income people. A large building contractor tells me about solid working people, such as policemen and women, teachers and nurses, forced to live in shacks because they can’t get a home loan.
You say you want a revolution? Intelligent young people with no jobs; hard working people with no homes. It’s staring us in the face.
Marc Hasenfuss will be back next week.