9 June 2014

South Africa: "SA Youth Unemployment a Ticking Time Bomb"

Johannesburg — THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) warned of the dangers of rising unemployment in the country.

Statistics South Africa reported recently that unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 34 increased from 32,7 percent to 36,1 percent between 2008 and 2014.

During those years, the youth unemployment rate has, on average, been 20 percent higher than that of adults in a country where youth make up 52 percent to 64 percent of the working population yet account for only 42 percent to 49 percent of those with jobs.

“The Congress of South African Trade Unions remains deeply concerned at this huge level of joblessness among young people, which is not only a tragedy for the young people themselves, who are left with no chance to earn an income and build a career, but for society as a whole, who could benefit so much from the contribution these thousands of young workers could make to the economy,” COSATU National Spokesperson, Patrick Craven said.

“It also creates a layer of angry, frustrated young people who will not indefinitely put up with this assault on their basic right to a job and an income.

"Hence the ‘ticking bombs', some of which are now exploding in violent community ‘service delivery' protests, the growth of criminal gangs, and the abuse of alcohol and drugs,” Craven said.

Craven thus urged the government to implement policies aimed at curbing youth unemployment.

“Many of the policies we need to resolve the problem are already in place on paper - both long-term and short-term - but are being rolled out far too slowly,” he said.

Craven proposed that in the medium to long term the country had to move with greater urgency to complete the second Phase of the Democratic Transition, through programmes like the Industrial Policy Action Plan and the infrastructure development programme.

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