The Democratic Alliance has come out with a strong road map to tackle youth unemployment in South Africa. The 2014 election will bring with it 5 million young first-time voters.
These young people, the born-free generation, are in search of jobs, a house and a car and will vote for a political home they can trust to deliver on its promises.
- Implement a Youth Wage Subsidy. The introduction of a wage subsidy would not be a silver bullet to solve the problem of youth unemployment, but it would be an important intervention to get South Africa’s youth working. Crucially, it would be a market-driven reform that would ensure the transfer of appropriate skills, the attainment of valuable work experience, and help to extend productive employment to the 5.6 million unemployed young South Africans;
- The introduction of an opportunity voucher scheme for eligible young South Africans. The voucher will provide funding to young adults who would like to start their own businesses or further their education and skills development;
- The DA will introduce a comprehensive government internship programme across all departments, based on the highly successful Western Cape model. The programme will hire interns on 6-month contracts at a rate of R 1 200 p.m.;
- The DA will institute a nation-wide bursary scheme to assist 50 000 academically talented learners from low-income families access high quality primary and secondary school education with a view to expanding the programme to an additional 20 000 learners each year by 2015;
- The reimbursement of employers to the value of the full amount spent on approved training, including schemes administered by employers’ associations. This will ensure that employees’ skills are better matched with market demand. This policy would replace the bureaucratic and ineffective SETA system;
- The expansion of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to provide full funding assistance to cover tuition, books, accommodation and maintenance stipend (which may include additional loans and bursaries) to all qualifying students;
- The DA will open specialised secondary schools that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education;
- The DA will establish a number of Colleges of Higher Education across the country that will offer two to four year qualifications. They will award undergraduate degrees and a range of other qualifications;
- The DA will put in place a range of interventions to give youth at risk an opportunity to find direction and make the most of their lives. The DA Youth Development Programme will aim to empower unemployed youth “at risk” to use their talents to better their lives;
The DA’s Youth Employment Plan focuses on proposals to alleviate youth unemployment and create opportunities for young people.
“However, we will never make significant steps towards tackling youth unemployment unless we fix South Africa’s failing basic education system. The DA believes that a good start would be to focus on the basic non-negotiable “five T’s” – Teachers, Textbooks, Time Management, Technology and Testing”, said Tim Harris from the Democratic Alliance.