SA must implement structural reforms to accelerate economic growth – CDE

Image of CDE CEO Ann Bernstein

CDE CEO Ann Bernstein

29th September 2021

By: Thabi Shomolekae

Creamer Media Senior Writer


Font size: - +

Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) CEO Ann Bernstein said South Africa needs to implement a range of structural reforms essential to accelerate economic growth, free up the labour market so that growth could become more labour intensive, and fix a training, skills and education system that is expensive and mainly ineffective.

The CDE launched a new report,' South Africa’s NEETs crisis: Why we are failing to connect young people to work', which examines the role and performance of South Africa’s skills system, and finds that constructive cooperation between businesses and technical and vocational education and training colleges remains the exception rather than the rule.

Bernstein called on government to “stop pretending that if we avoid the big policy issues, the difficult reforms, we can somehow make a difference, and turn this crisis around”.

More than 9-million young South Africans between the ages 15 and 34 are unemployed, uneducated or untrained.

“A society in which there are ever-growing numbers of unemployed and excluded young people with no stake in or prospects for the future cannot expect to remain peaceful and democratic,” she said.

She added that if the country did not tackle youth unemployment, solving other problems may not matter,

Government’s focus on projects, special initiatives, summits and talk shops is the wrong priority, she stated and further explained that this diverted resources and leadership from absolutely essential reforms which were the only way to start tackling the scale of South Africa’s youth challenge.

CDE research included fieldwork in Alexandra, in Gauteng, and in Bushbuckridge, in Mpumalanga.

CDE research director Dr Stefan Schirmer said one of the worst places to be a young person in South Africa is Bushbuckridge with a youth unemployment rate verging on 80%.

CDE interviewed young people who had experienced short spells of employment.

“They sometimes venture out to Nelspruit or even Johannesburg, but they run out of money or have to return home. They always find themselves back where they started: not in employment, education or training,” he said.

Schirmer noted that South Africa’s skills training system was expensive and inefficient because it failed to provide the skills employers were looking for and was characterised by very high dropout rates.

Meanwhile, Bernstein called on government and business to re-examine their priorities, and move away from “ad hoc interventions in failing systems and boutique projects”.

Bernstein said jobs were the first step to individual empowerment and independence.

Download the report here.

Edited by Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia





GreaseMax is a chemically operated automatic lubricator.

Yale Lifting Solutions
Yale Lifting Solutions

Yale Lifting Solutions is a leading supplier of lifting and material handling equipment in Southern Africa. Yale offers a wide range of quality...


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Magazine round up | 12 April 2024
Magazine round up | 12 April 2024
12th April 2024

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.242 0.291s - 143pq - 5rq
Subscribe Now