Government must focus on finding scalable and pragmatic solutions that can yield measurable results in the shortest possible time to realise Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator Solutions Exchange, at the Spier Wine farm, in Stellenbosch, on Monday.
He noted that South Africa needed solutions that provided pathways to employment for excluded and vulnerable youth.
“These must address mismatches of demand and supply for entry-level positions,” he said.
He highlighted that the extent of the crisis of youth unemployment and poverty meant that extraordinary measures needed to be taken, adding that government had to focus on better implementation by setting clear targets and clear timeframes to achieve a real and measurable impact.
“This speaks not only to the efficient use of limited public and private resources, but also to leadership, collaboration and a spirit of patriotism.”
The solutions exchange is aimed at shifting the narrative of a youth that is losing hope in government policies and programmes to a youth that is enabled, empowered, treasured and affirmed, Ramaphosa said.
He added that it was also about harnessing the potential of South Africa’s youth to enable them to fruitfully contribute in their own development and the development of the country.
“The challenge of youth unemployment calls for a new era where we involve young people in developing the solutions that are meant for their benefit.”
Accelerating inclusive youth employment and creating sustainable pathways for young people in the economy is urgent, he said.
He asserted that the fact that around six-million young people were not being educated, employed or in training, should be a national emergency.
“This is exacerbated by the fact that there are only around 500 000 entry-level job vacancies each year, in an economy that is slowing further. The wasted human potential is significant. We need to work together on practical measures to turn around the economy and create jobs,” he said.