Issue of Unemployment in South Africa

The biggest problem that South Africa is currently facing is unemployment. Unemployment is defined by the Bureau of Labour Statistics as people who do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the past month, and are presently available for work. Unemployment in South Africa does not only affect the jobless, it affects all of us. Although it affects some South Africans more than others (for example the wealthy are better able to cope with unemployment’s consequences), it is its severity that makes it such big a threat to our South African society.

Unemployment has a massive social impact since every employee in SA, on average, has 15 dependants. For poorer South Africans unemployment has the potential to tear apart households. Some members of a family might resort to a life of crime to provide for their families. Being unable to provide nutritional food or sufficient healthcare can be incredibly stressful and so the breadwinners of each family commonly suffer from depression and other stress related conditions.

In order to find work to provide for their families, family members often leave to work in the suburban or city areas and send money home. The psychological effects experienced by the unemployed and breadwinners can be passed on to families, which can result in negative long-term outcomes for family members, particularly the children of these households.

Unemployment creates problems in areas where it affects all South Africans, from the wealthy to the poorest.

The harsh consequences of unemployment remain close to my heart.

Family is what makes or breaks a child. Children experience the world through the relationships they have with family members and the people around them. When those relationships provide safe, stable, and healthy environments, children are more likely to thrive physically and emotionally. Children are the future of South Africa and we need to protect them. That is why unemployment is such a big issue for me personally, unemployment destroys these safe, stable and healthy environments and harms these children by exposing them to toxic and unhealthy relationships with family members.

The problem of unemployment stems from the fact South African economic growth has occurred largely in skills-intensive sectors, such as the financial and business services sector (Hausmann, 2008). The primary cause for South Africa’s unemployment epidemic today is that our current employment structure focuses more on manual labour (Mining or Construction) than skills-intensive sectors (Finance sector). There is thus a significant predicament that logically supports the reason for the high unemployment rate in South Africa. There is a mismatch between the need for skills in present-day South Africa, and the skills that are supplied. The South African youth’s low-skill skillset is thus not suitable for our current economy. A poor education system has resulted in an excess of unskilled and low-skilled labour. The main reason, as given by employers, for this mismatch is that schooling does not properly prepare the youth in using skills in their future careers (National Treasury, 2011:16). The deterioration of the apprenticeship system which enhanced worker skills, Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). SETA has not been used adequately therefore the apprenticeship system has deteriorated along with the number of skilled labour. Labour Laws for employees are seen to give the employees more power over the employers as the laws are seen to be overly protective. This results in making it less attractive to hire new employees.

My ability to work with and understand people is my main skill. I’m able to communicate efficiently and I am also a good public speaker and debater. I am therefore able to persuade as well as get along with people of diverse and different backgrounds, whether it be culturally or ethnically.

I will use my skill to uplift the unemployed. My ideal solution is a mentorship programme. This mentorship programme will incorporate job shadowing, which enables the unemployed to gain valuable work experience. The mentoring system will inevitably enable the unemployed to learn unique skills from their mentor. This will increase the likelihood of the unemployed contributing in the work environment and finding permanent employment. The programme will be beneficial to both the unemployed and businesses. The unemployed will better/increase their chances of securing employment while businesses can fulfil part of their obligations under the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practise. The positive outcome of this programme will hopefully lead to a ripple effect where more unemployed people can be placed in the formal business/private sector. I will use my network of successful people to guide and assist me in this initiative. I will make use of their past experiences as employers, which will prove to be invaluable to implementing this programme.

I will use my negotiating skills to secure the involvement of private sector and government. Communicating efficiently during the development of this programme will be essential in ensuring the successful outcome of this programme. I will use social media and Non-Profit Organisations (NGOs) to optimise my communication, and to extend my reach to create awareness of the programme amongst the unemployed. The objective of this programme is to involve people of diverse backgrounds. My ability to operate in a multi-cultural and diverse environment will assist me to facilitate integration into the programme. I will use reputable companies in the private sector with a demonstrated track record of creating employment, the government SETAs that have successfully run mentorship programmes and NGOs that operate in the areas from which I wish to draw candidates for the programme.

The programme will be successful due to my passionate dedication to this initiative, the experience of the companies, SETAs and NGOs that I will be partnering with, as well as the critical need for the unemployed to be offered employment in the mainstream economy.

I wish to commence the implementation as soon as practically possible. This is subject to the restructuring of government departments which will be announced by the president in the next two weeks, which might impact the role of SETAs which is a critical partner in this programme.

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