The future of our country is at stake. More than 52% of our 10, 3 million youth aged between 15 and 24 years old are unemployed.
- We Will Grow the Country’s Industries, Mines and Beneficiate our Minerals
No real big and strategic industries have been built in this country over the past 24 years. Instead, we have seen formerly big industries like lscor, Eskom, Sasol, Telkom and Transnet being destroyed, with the result that millions of workers lost their jobs, and the few that are remaining have no job security and benefits.
The mining industry and agriculture are also shedding jobs, instead of absorbing the unemployed and our youth into employment.
An AZAPO government will revive our country’s industrial capacity. It will beneficiate some of the abundant minerals and metals our country has such as steel, coal, gold, diamonds and platinum. Major industries will be built around these minerals for export and for inputs by the manufacturing sector.
- Revitalise Our Labour Intensive Sectors to Create Jobs
Primary agriculture and agro-processing, subsequent to land redistribution, will become a major focus area for investment by an AZAPO government. Major sectors and subsectors linked to agriculture and agro-processing such as clothing, leather and textiles, as well as furniture, which are labour intensive, will be revitalised and targeted for financing, modernisation and technological enhancement.
The neoliberal policies of the last 24 years that have resulted in significant de-industrialisation of South Africa through trade liberalisation, tariffs relaxation and ill-advised trade and industrial policy will be rejected and reversed.
- Support the Small and Medium Enterprise Sector to Create Jobs
An AZAPO government will also support and grow the small and medium enterprises sector, as part of its economic development strategy to create jobs and to reduce unemployment.
The small and medium sized business sector is also crucial for generating creativity, innovation and for commercialising scientific discoveries. AZAPO will set up special purpose vehicles and funds to promote the small business sector and will provide procurement opportunities within the state, off-take agreements, funding, technology and marketing support to this sector.
- Absorb Youth into Jobs
Youth account for more than 60% of the total number of unemployed people. This means they bear the greatest burden of the challenges of lack of income in our society. Something needs to be done urgently to give them hope through employment.
Special youth dedicated job categories, business opportunity programmes, skills and education support, funding and absorption into the private and public sector, including in the State Owned Enterprises, the army and the police service, will be developed to address the huge challenge of youth unemployment in our country.