Collaboration key to tackling unemployment in South Africa

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Photo taken on June 28, 2021 shows a city view during sunrise in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa will move to lockdown Level 4 for 14 days from June 28 to July 11 with stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday during a televised speech. (Photo by Ali Greeff/Xinhua)
Photo taken on June 28, 2021 shows a city view during sunrise in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa will move to lockdown Level 4 for 14 days from June 28 to July 11 with stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday during a televised speech. (Photo by Ali Greeff/Xinhua)

While the labor force survey of first quarter showed the job market remained tough for South African youth, expert said collaboration between government and the private sector could be key in tackling youth unemployment.

“I definitely think it has to be a partnership between government, the private sector and the social partners, so I think we need to make sure that there is a winning coalition of people that invested in tackling the problem,” Harambee’s sector executive Tracy Swart told Xinhua.

Harambee, a not-for-profit social enterprise which aims to scale up youth employment efforts in South Africa, said it had partnered with different sectors to deal with youth unemployment problem.

“There are a lot of opportunities and if we can keep the momentum going and not be side tracked by either political agendas or other issues facing us, there’s an opportunity for us to make a dent in the unemployment rate,” Swart said.

South Africa’s recent unrest which claimed over 300 lives has put a spotlight on its 32.6 percent unemployment rate. Youth joblessness among people aged 15-34 year-old stood at 46.3 percent.

In commemorating Youth Day in June this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about this collaboration when announcing a website with the aim of youth job creation. Young people can access the SA Youth.mobi website data free when hunting jobs. The website is in partnership with Harambee which has created thousands of jobs so far, around 1.8 million young people have registered.

Swart encouraged companies to sign up on the site and advertise their opportunities.

This online job creation platform was a game changer, Swar noted.

She said while Harambee was working with companies in different sectors, the call center sector was one of the largest creators while the plumbing, water infrastructure and creative industries were also doing well.

“We saw the call center sector as the big creator of jobs, South Africa is well regarded in terms of our skills in this area,” she said.

When asked about some of the problems that prevented young people from securing jobs, Swart cited marginalization as the main issue.

“One of the biggest challenges is that they are excluded. If you come from an environment where your parents are on social grants and you don’t have anybody working, how do you even remotely start looking for a job? You don’t even know where to start. So I think being excluded like that, not having a network or a support structure, a mentor,” she said.

Swart said some young people were not aware of “where the opportunities are.” Transport costs and the resources required for job hunting were some of the barriers.

“The actual cost of looking for a job is quite significant,” she said. Enditem

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