AZAPOrecognises the role that young people played through their militancy, sacrifices and revolutionary activism to at least defeat apartheid and prepare society for more radical changes. This is the social group that has from time to time engaged in fierce battles with the authorities fighting either for admissions or against financial exclusions at the various institutions of learning. This is the social group that is hard hit by unemployment, and therefore finding settling in society a challenge. The future of a society is dependent upon the manner in which it takes care of the young population. A young nation like ours must pay attention to the formulation and development of policies that promote young people’s development to the extent they become healthy, productive adults able to contribute meaningfully to society.
However current socio-economic indicators show that the government is failing to ensure the development and well-being of the country’s young people, particularly in terms of education and employment. This is evidenced by the results of Census 2011 that show that “the proportion [of the population which had some primary level education has slightly decreased from 16.0% in 2001 to 12.3% in 2011”. Further evidence is provided by the African Economic Outlook 2012 that has observed that “among the young, the unemployment rate is double the national average, having risen from 45% in 2008 to 50.5% in 2010”. A survey by Statistics South Africa in 2010 offered the following profile of youth unemployment in South Africa:
- About 42% of young people under the age of 30 are unemployed compared with fewer than 17% of adults over 30
- Only 1 in 8 (13%) of working age adults under 25 years has a job, compared to 40% in most emerging economies
- Unemployed young people tend to be less skilled and more inexperienced: almost 86% do not have formal further or tertiary education, while two-thirds have never worked.
Compared to nations at similar stages of economic development, South Africa has an unusually high unemployment problem – in general and among the young. Only 40% of those of working age have jobs, compared to 65% in Brazil, 71% in China and 55% in India. The emerging market average is 56%.
An AZAPO government will:
- Establish a stand-alone Youth Ministry to pay particular attention to the development and general affairs of the youth
- Formulate a holistic youth policy that will deal with developmental issues and youth service
- Create a permanent non-partisan youth forum to thrash out issues relating to the youth
- Create multipurpose youth development centres to, among other things, equip the youth with entrepreneurial skills
Ensure that all youth undergo compulsory community service as a means to inculcate patriotism, discipline, responsibility and a culture of respect for human life.