As we celebrate Youth Day 2020, themed ‘Youth Power: Growing South Africa together in the Period of COVID-19’, UASA encourages all youths to unite on this 44th commemoration of 16 June 1976 in combating the threat of the Coronavirus.
Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns dealt our economy a tremendous blow, leaving countless workers unemployed as companies shut their doors, adding to the already high unemployment number that existed before the pandemic struck.
South Africa’s unemployment rate sits at a staggering 29.1%, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting a rise to 35.3% by December 2020.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q4:2019 puts the youth unemployment rate at 53.1%. This means approximately 8.2 million of South Africa’s 20.4 million young people aged between 15 – 34 years are not in employment, education or training of any sort.
High levels of unemployment combined with social injustice issues such as inequality, teenage pregnancy, GBV (Gender-Based Violence), domestic violence, discrimination, and alcohol and drug abuse remain an everyday struggle for our youth. Added to that, the lack of jobs and business opportunities results in many of our young bright minds ending up in criminal activities that lead to their demise.
Now more than ever with the Coronavirus global pandemic threatening to take away people’s jobs and livelihoods, is the time for government to be actively engaging with the youth on how they are going to secure their future.
There might be room for economic growth even during this Covid-19 pandemic. With no cure or vaccine anytime soon, UASA calls on the government to come up with a plan on how we are going to create jobs and grow the economy in a way that benefits our youth before this global pandemic takes away those opportunities forever.