Deputy President David Mabuza says government is working towards addressing youth employment in South Africa.
On Thursday afternoon, Mabuza responded to questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) following his return from Russia for medical treatment.
During the virtual sitting, the deputy president said government recognises that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their efforts to create jobs, “particularly on our youth and people with disabilities”.
“Since the advent of Covid-19 in 2020 the share of young people under 35 years old in all employment levels has fallen from 56% before the pandemic to 50% today,” he said.
His comments come after the release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey issued by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), which revealed that unemployment now stands at 34,4%.
This is the highest since the start of the survey in 2008.
According to Stats SA, youth aged between 15-24 years and 25-34 years also recorded the highest unemployment rates of 64,4% and 42,9% respectively.
Mabuza indicated that government was making targeted interventions to address youth unemployment and poverty across the country.
This includes initiatives like the Community Work Programme (CWP), which is an integrated service delivery model that is carried by the department of cooperative governance contributing towards youth employment work opportunities.
The deputy president said approximately 65,000 young people have benefited from the CWP by receiving an average income of R880.
Mabuza said other initiatives that the youth has benefited from include the R350 Covid-19 grant, with more than 60% of the recipients of the grant being young people.
“Over and above these interventions government in August 2021 reintroduced Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant of R350.
“While this grant is specifically not targeting from the previous iterations we have noted that more 60% of the recipients of this grant are young people.
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“The reintroduction of this grant will make a significant difference in reducing poverty and hunger.
“Moving forward and working with our social partners it will be important to find practical measures and incentives further discourage young work seekers and also scaling up our incentives to employers in both the public and private sectors to employ young people so that they can gain footholds with requisite experience,” the deputy president said.