By: Nthambeleni Gabara
Pretoria: Political Science lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology, Levy Ndou, says President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) should touch on the youth wage subsidy.
President Zuma will deliver the annual address during a joint sitting of Parliament tonight at 7pm, to allow more South Africans to access the live broadcast.
“The youth of South Africa will expect a lot from the President in view of the youth subsidy, so the President will have to outline government’s plan in relation to youth empowerment.
“A lot will be spoken about on education, especially the Basic Education sector. The [late] delivery of text books in Limpopo will oblige the President to emphasise that government has a plan to deal with those challenging issues,” he said.
The youth subsidy will target young graduates and students in tertiary institutions who needed to complement formal study with practical work.
In 2011, the National Treasury published a discussion paper in February 2011 titled, Confronting Youth Unemployment: Policy Options for South Africa.
The paper showed that unemployment in South Africa was especially problematic when only 12.5 percent of youth in the country were employed, while 40 percent were employed in other developing countries.
Youth workers are identified as those between the ages of 15 and 25 years old.
At the time the discussion paper was published, 86 percent did not have tertiary or further education, while two-thirds had never been employed.
The problem of youth unemployment has worsened over the last two years as a result of the recession.
Employment of 18 to 24-year-olds fell by more than 20 percent (320 000) between December 2008 and December 2010, compared with an overall decline of 6.4 percent.
The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 is about 50 percent, accounting for 30 percent of total unemployment.
The biggest problems facing youth in relation to employment is that they lack skills and experience in the workplace.
SONA marks the opening of the parliamentary year and is usually attended by important political and governmental figures of South Africa, including former Presidents, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court and other members of the judiciary, the Governor of the Reserve Bank and Ambassadors and Diplomats to the Republic.