Lack of work op­por­tu­ni­ties leads youth to de­spair

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - MANYANE MANYANE

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.”

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