State aims to address the hardships experienced by young job-seekers
Early in the morning, the sidewalks of busy roads are dotted with bodies in overalls. These people travel from far off townships looking for temporary work.
Most days many of them go home without work and R20 poorer due to transport costs. But the government hopes to address this problem through its National Youth Service's (NYS) Youth Volunteer Campaign, which was officially launched yesterday.
The programme provides young people with the opportunity to give back to their communities while acquiring crucial skills that will enable them to access economic opportunities.
At least 9000 young people have volunteered for the campaign and the government has called on young people to register their names with local municipalities.
Thabang Chiloane, spokesperson in the presidency, said the programme would become an important tool for South Africa's social shift.
"The main criterion is a matric, but if they have less than that they can benefit. As long as they are older than 16."
With the involvement of government departments, participants will be called on to work in fields including healthcare, road works, social development and any department with existing community-based programmes.
Umsobomvu Youth Fund communications director Monde Mkhaliphe said that it was important for young people to get involved in spite of a lack of pay.
"We encourage young people to work within their own communities, but if they are needed far from home, we will be looking at giving them a stipend for transport and food," Mkhaliphe said.
In the Western Cape, 1000 young people have become involved in an education and anti-crime activities; the Eastern Cape has engaged 6000 youngsters; and the Free State has involved 1000.