Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, has called on young South Africans to aspire to be employers instead of job seekers.
The Minister said this when he interacted with young people in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. The Youth Dialogue was held as part of nationwide commemorations of Youth Month, where the nation reflects on the contribution made by young people during the 16 June 1976 Youth Uprisings.
“… Your ambition as young people must not only be to aspire to get a job… Your ambition as well [should be]to be a job creator… to become entrepreneurs as young people, especially black people, so that we can build a South Africa of our dreams,” he said.
The Minister said government remains committed to helping young people gain access to education and skills development opportunities in order to meaningfully participate in the economy.
He said this is critical to ensuring that young people become the innovators and creators of new jobs in the future.
Minister Radebe said in collaboration with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), government’s aim is to provide support to young people so that they can become innovators and job creators.
He told a packed Khayelitsha Multipurpose Hall that when he went to the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland in January, he was shocked when presented with statistics that revealed that 60% of all young people who are primary school this year will be in jobs that do not exist today.
This, the Minister said, is because the world is advancing at a rapid pace.
“My advice to you is that as young people, study what is called STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.
“It is important that we should think about the future because the world is moving at a very rapid pace.
“If as young people you are not part of that STEM, you are not part of that ICT revolution, technology will leave you behind,” he said.
He called on those who serve in government to work tirelessly to support young people, and at the same time, create an enabling environment for the private sector to employ young people.
The Minister also used the event to call on young people to be proactive in reporting crime by participating in street committees and community policing forums.
Newly appointed NYDA Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni said despite its limited budget, the youth agency will do all it can to offer support to young people so that they can access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. He said the NYDA will work tirelessly to take its services to where young people reside.
While calling on government departments to set aside a larger percentage of employment and procurement opportunities for young people, he called on the private sector to play a bigger role in hiring young people.
He said government cannot be the biggest employer in the economy.
Siyanda Mtulu, the founder and CEO of Ezase-kasi Business Fridays – a recently established project aimed at supporting the township economy – called on the private sector to set aside a notable percentage of business opportunities for young enterprises, especially those in the townships.
He said instead of going to malls in affluent areas, communities should use their money in townships to bolster the township economy.