Lack of work opportunities leads youth to despair
THE high unemployment rate – now at 27.5% – is putting the plight of jobseekers in the spotlight.
Young people, the most affected group, say they are discouraged from looking for jobs.
According to the Statistics South Africa Quarterly Labour Force Survey report, the youth makes up 52.8% of the 6.2 million people without jobs.
Independent Media spoke to young people about their work prospects.
Siyabonga Mpofu, 21, from Katlehong in Ekurhuleni, has been struggling to find employment since completing matric in 2016.
“There are no more opportunities. I feel like just giving up when I think about this. That is why I keep myself busy with smoking because I’m trying to avoid this stress.
“The sad part is that I wanted to get a job so I could study further,” said Mpofu, who was smoking a dagga joint with his friends.
Being unemployed has made his home life difficult. “I am doing nothing (to earn a living) and depend on my parents to feed me. I thought by this time I would be able to do everything for myself. It’s depressing because I feel useless when I see my peers going to work.”
Mpofu’s friend Lucky Tshabalala said he had given up on his dream to be independent. “I have been looking for employment since 2016. I haven’t found anything,” he said.
Another despondent jobseeker, Given Ngomane, said the government had not fulfilled its promise to create jobs. “Companies are looking for people with experience. Government claimed it hired young people and gave them experience, but many people still have no experience. This was just a strategy to keep us voting for them.
“I have been looking for any job to get experience, but I have failed. Sometimes they (government) claim they have created job opportunities, but we can’t find any when we check.”
The SA Federation of Trade Unions spokesperson, Patrick Craven, agreed.
“They are not creating jobs, but they keep on making speeches. We are planning a three-day strike in January. We want to see a fundamental change,” he said.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla criticised government for not creating jobs by supporting small businesses.
“In this country they give you money when you want to be in debt. Banks can help you buy a car, but can’t give you money to start a business.”
Economist Ian Cruickshank added that companies were cutting jobs.
“By the end of the year, the unemployment rate will be higher. We are not creating jobs anymore.”