Grad­u­ates protest for jobs

Youths hand over mem­o­ran­dum

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Yoliswa Sobuwa

Nku­l­uleko Ndlovu wore his grad­u­a­tion gown on the lawns of Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day to make a state­ment about his six years’ strug­gle to find a job. Ndlovu, 28, from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal grad­u­ated six years ago with a B-tech ac­count­ing de­gree and has been un­em­ployed since. On Mon­day, Ndlovu joined a group of 15 un­em­ployed grad­u­ates that boarded a bus from Dur­ban to Pre­to­ria to hand over a mem­o­ran­dum of de­mands to Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Af­ter pass­ing his ma­tric, Ndlovu had to work in a fac­tory to raise money to pur­sue his stud­ies at univer­sity.

“My mother is un­em­ployed and we all de­pend on her gov­ern­ment grant,” he said. “I was lucky to get help from the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (Ns­fas) for my stud­ies. Six years down the line my de­gree feels use­less. All I want to say to the pres­i­dent is that I want to be em­ployed and able to look af­ter my fam­ily.”

He ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of “play­ing with young peo- ple’s lives” by of­fer­ing twoyear in­tern­ship pro­grammes while prospec­tive em­ploy­ers looked for three years ex­pe­ri­ence from grad­u­ates. “Our fam­i­lies sac­ri­ficed the least they had to see us through school,” he said. An­other grad­u­ate, Lin­dokuhle Khu­malo, 24, said he lost his mother while do­ing first year at univer­sity in 2014 and this put more pres­sure on him to pro­vide for the fam­ily. “I have been ap­ply­ing for em­ploy­ment for four years now with no luck. There is no one work­ing at home. I am now that grad­u­ate who sweeps peo­ple’s floors to put food on the ta­ble,” Khu­malo said. “The pres­i­dent should make plans for un­em­ployed grad­u­ates be­cause de­pres­sion will kill us,” he said.

A gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial ac­cepted the mem­o­ran­dum on be­half of Ramaphosa and promised to re­spond to the de­mands af­ter seven days.

/THU­LANI MBELE.

Un­em­ployed grad­u­ates at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria where they de­manded that the gov­ern­ment make job op­por­tu­ni­ties for the un­em­ployed youths.

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