Ramaphosa's address missed an opportunity to deal with lost youth

President Cyril Ramaphosa, arrives to deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SoNA). Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa, arrives to deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SoNA). Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jun 23, 2019


President Cyril Ramaphosa missed an opportunity to adequately address the issue of unemployment among young people with a viable and practical plan in his State of the Nation address. By inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship, he could have inspired confidence among young people without making false promises. 

The government should assist graduates by creating business opportunities.

All the political parties that contested the 2019 general elections promised employment opportunities for everyone if they got into power. However, unless they have concrete ways in which to fight unemployment, this remains an empty slogan.

The government does not have a mandate to directly create employment opportunities for its own people.

However, it has a constitutional

mandate to create an advantageous atmosphere for various types of investment which will have a direct and positive impact in the livelihoods of its own people.

Ramaphosa should know he is not addressing youth problems by simply appointing three young people to the Cabinet.

We have more than 13 million young people who are unemployed, and that number cannot all work in the public service.

Ramaphosa should use our institutions of higher education and training as incubation centres for innovation and improvement in the poorly-performing economy.

The only viable and realistic solution to the rising levels of unemployment is entrepreneurship. The government should encourage and inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship.

It is very difficult to register a business or enterprise in our country.

The government should make it easy for us by introducing tax incentives and making funding available. Training support should be accessible to any person who is willing to start his or her own business.

Imagine if every graduate in South Africa employs about five other young people in their enterprises - five families no longer experience poverty.

One of the primary contributors to unemployment is our poor education system, which has been criticised by experts for the past 25 years. It is clear that it does not fulfil our societal needs. Policy-makers should reconfigure our education system so that it serves the current economical, technological, cultural and political strata.

Our education system produces beggars who go around looking for employment opportunities wearing their graduation gowns.

The education system has not been decolonised, thereby giving rise to the current economic injustices of an economy monopolised and centralised by an elite.

Our education system should begin to produce entrepreneurs instead of perpetually producing beggars, unable to create employment opportunities for themselves, and many other young people who are not part of the mainstream economy because the education system has failed them.

The government should abandon the notion of a “nanny state”.

There is no government in the world which is able to build houses for people or even hire people in the state apparatus.

The government should establish a cordial relationship with the

private sector by offering tax incentives so that they remain in the country to make a profit, while creating employment opportunities and contributing to the gross domestic product of the country.

* Kenneth Mokgatlhe is a political commentator and media practitioner. He is also a former PAC spokesperson

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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