Youth Capital’s Project Lead Kristal Duncan-William was in conversation with Lester Kiewitt on the Cape Talk show Tonight with Lester, on the 25th and 26th February 2020, post the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and ahead of Budget Speech 2020.
Youth Unemployment at SONA
During SONA 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa prioritised youth unemployment, with the announcement of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) – six initiatives to change the way young South Africans access employment opportunities.Young people’s lives are simply at odds with the far too often top-down, inflexible solutions to unemployment. And with the youth unemployment rate sitting at 58.2% – the highest rate in the last decade[1– the need for a cohesive plan informed by young people’s lived experiences has become more pressing than ever before.
During the interview, Kristal and Lester spoke about the challenges young people face when setting out on job hunt. From the increasing cost of job-hunting, the gap between the experience gained through informal work and the way employees value skills on a CV to the difficulties in keeping a job.
Given the complexities of youth unemployment, the crisis requires a cohesive agenda that all the stakeholders can get behind. Kristal referred to some of the points included in the Youth Capital’s 10 point plan of action, which plots the integration and collaborations necessary between government departments, the private sector and young South Africans to move forward.
Youth Unemployment at the Budget Speech
Following Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget Speech, Lester and Kristal caught up to comment on the plan ahead. Sadly, the Minister didn’t share much detail on the PYEI, alluding to more information to be revealed in the Medium Term Budget. Moving forward it will be interesting to see what funds will form part of the intervention and the accountability roles to ensure that the funds achieve the designated beneficiaries.
However, the speech was great at focusing on corruption, which is an issue that weighs heavily on young people’s minds. One of the young people in our network commented on the Budget: “I appreciated a number of stances with respect to government clamping down on tax fraud, which is a big concern for our revenue streams. I just wish this time it wasn’t just words, but actual actionable words”.
Listen to the Interview unpacking the Budget Speech here.
 Statistics South Africa. 2019. Quarterly labour force survey Q3 and Q4