South Africa: The Eastern Cape Is in a COVID-19 Crisis - Time to Mobilise Our Unemployed Youth

opinion

There are thousands of unemployed graduates and young people with matric certificates in the Eastern Cape. Why not turn the challenge of youth unemployment into an opportunity in the fight against Covid-19?

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has finally told us what we knew all along - the province's healthcare system "has been overwhelmed" by the surge in Covid-19 infections. He further urges national government to bring in the army to beef up the province's crippled and almost dysfunctional public healthcare system.

However, deploying the army is not likely to be a lasting or even the best solution. It can prove costly and inadequate, especially if other provinces also begin to make similar requests. Why can't government recruit our unemployed graduates and matriculants as healthcare, and teaching assistants in the Eastern Cape health and education systems?

Of course, that the Eastern Cape public health is overwhelmed does not come as any surprise to the majority of citizens in the province. Almost every citizen who has encountered the system over the past five decades would concur that the system was never ready for a pandemic of any scale. In most rural healthcare centres - where these even exist at all -...

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