NOT TO BE IG­NORED

Finweek English Edition - - FEEDBACK - JANA MARAIS, FINWEEK

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

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