NOT TO BE IGNORED
EDITOR, WRITES: With the speed of the news cycle in South Africa being what it is, the xenophobic violence that rocked our cities and student protests at some of our elite universities that made international headlines just last month have mostly been forgotten already. It would be foolish to just move on without spending some time looking at the injustices highlighted by these events.
In this week’s cover story (page 16), Finweek journalists Buhle Ndweni, Lameez Omarjee and Shandukani Mulaudzi take a look at South Africa’s youth, why they are so fed-up with the status quo, and what this means for the future of our country. None of this is really new, of course. Every so often we are bombarded with headlines about SA’s ticking time bomb or whether we should brace ourselves for our own “African Spring”.
The country’s young people certainly have reason to be angry. A new study by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) shows 5.5m people between the ages of 15 and 34 are not working or receiving any form of education or skills training. Black South Africans are still drawing the short straw – they face the highest poverty levels, highest unemployment rates and lowest likelihood of getting access to tertiary education.
Initiatives like the youth wage subsidy created 270 000 jobs, according to the State of the Nation Address – not a number to sneezed at, but a drop in the bucket if you consider the 5.5m other youngsters sitting without any prospects.
The Presidency didn’t take too kindly to the SAIRR’s report, trumpeting its draft National Youth Policy 2015-2020 (NYP2020) as the magic wand that will ensure “that young people are provided an enabling ground for upliftment and development”.
The NYP2020 was gazetted for public consultation and comment in January, and