MEC Hlophe urges youth to seek entrepreneurship opportunities
Young people seeking employment should look at other innovative ways of being absorbed into the work environment rather than relying on government entities.
This is according to Gauteng MEC for sports and recreation Mbali Hlophe, who encouraged the youth to make use of government platforms to get into the private sector and obtain the necessary skills to start their own businesses.
“Youth unemployment continues to be a scourge that this current generation is faced with to a point where it’s not only the unskilled, but it is equally the skilled labour that is unable to find jobs,” said Hlophe.
She was speaking at the National Youth Development Agency’s (NYDA) launch of Youth Month at Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum in Soweto on Tuesday. This year, the NYDA commemorates Youth Month under the theme “25 Years of Democracy: A celebration of youth activism”.
The country commemorates Youth Month as part of the June 16 1976 students' uprising celebrations. Hlophe further encouraged the youth to open their own businesses just like in developed countries.
“Young graduates are on the streets squirreling around. We have said there is something we are not doing and as a government we must be able to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship because this is how your first world countries are surviving.
“Currently what is happening in South Africa is that the government continues to be the biggest employer and we ought to change this... we must be able to create those opportunities and create an enabling environment for young people to be absorbed in the mainstream economy.”
NYDA chairperson Sfiso Mtsweni echoed Hlophe’s remarks but said experience requirements must be removed in order to accommodate young graduates.
“A lot of companies in our country advertise jobs that are not meant for young people. They tell you that you need five years’ experience, you need 10 years’ experience. How are you supposed to have such experience when you are 21 years? You should have started working at the age of 11... so one thing we are calling for is, remove experience as an entry-level requirement so that those people are able to get access [to the world of work],” Mtsweni said.
The country celebrates the 16th of June annually to commemorate the 1976 Soweto student uprising. The youth of that generation stood up against the apartheid government and sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and the right to equal education and the imposition of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction.