Dear NEASA member
The latest report by Statistics South Africa points to the country’s poor education system as the key driver for unemployment and the failure to create jobs. The labour market dynamics report confirms that the number of people living in poverty has declined mainly because of social grants to poor households. But the real problem is that the reduction in poverty has not been matched by a significant drop in inequality or unemployment. A smaller proportion of South Africans had jobs in 2013 compared with 1996.
Black Africans are most affected by the increase in joblessness. Unemployment among this group is the highest at 27%, followed by coloured people at 24%. Among Indians unemployment is at 12% and among white South Africans it is 6.8%.
The Stats SA report further shows that people are three times more likely to find a job if they have work experience. Considering that half (54.2%) of young people between the age of 15 and 34 have no work experience and 47.3% do not have matric, Stats SA suggests that projects such as government’s extended public works programme and youth wage subsidy need to be expanded. Unemployment among people with a tertiary qualification is 9.9%, compared with 28% among those without a matric.
Statistician General, Pali Lehohla, was quite brutal in his delivery of the report stating that unless South Africa deals with poor education, reducing unemployment will remain a pipe dream. He said a failure to come up with the right policies to fix education would deprive South Africa of reaping the "demographic dividend" — when people become less dependent on state welfare, more productive and able to improve their living and social conditions.
Sources: Stats SA, Labour market dynamics report 2014, Business Day, SABC News