Address by Gauteng Premier, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, on the occasion of the launch of the Youth Enterprise Hubs, Wintervelt
20 Jun 2012
Programme Director, MEC Qedani Mahlangu
Mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Kgosientso Ramakgopa
Ladies and Gentlemen
June is the month on which we pay homage to the young people who died, exiled and imprisoned for fighting the draconian system of apartheid. We dedicate this month to young people of our country for their unparalleled courage and commitment to the struggle for justice and equality. Their selfless sacrifice precipitated the ushering of democracy based on the will of the people as outlined in the 1956 people’s document, the Freedom Charter.
However, the dawn of democracy brought with it new challenges for the youth. While the 1976 generation had a common enemy in the evil apartheid system, today’s generation is faced with a totally different type of enemy. Their challenges range from HIV and Aids, drugs and substance abuse, moral decay, to hunger and joblessness. These are tearing the moral fibre of our society, stealing the promising young lives and destroying families. Moreover, every day of our lives we are confronted by the distressing reality of youth unemployment.
According to an International Labour Organisation (ILO) study conducted in 2004, youth between ages 15-24 years make up nearly half (47%) of the world’s unemployed, 88 million of 186 million, even though youth are only 25% of the world’s working age population. In South Africa the unemployment rate is extremely high currently estimated to be 25, 2% (2010), comprising approximately 4, 2 million people. While the problem applies to all age groups it affects youth more than others. In 2010 the unemployment rate for the 20-24 age group was 48, 7% and for the 15-19 age group 63, 7% amounting to 1.37 million unemployed amongst 15-24 year olds.
In Gauteng youth between the ages 15-35 years constitute 37.2% of the total population. The rate of youth unemployment is higher in Gauteng because young people are attracted by the availability of opportunities and prospects of cracking it in Maboneng, Johannesburg. Various studies have indicated that unemployment in the province increased and in 2010 about 55% of 15-24 year olds were unemployed as compared to 51% nationally. And the majority of those who are employed are either employed in the informal sector or as part-time workers.
It is worth noting that black people constitute the majority of the unemployed; about 40% of all the unemployed are matriculants under the age of 24 and the remaining half have incomplete secondary education, more than two third have never worked while 71% of unemployed between the age of 15-24 years have to support at least one to four dependents.
While the figures paint a very grim picture, we need to appreciate and understand the causes for this phenomenon. The causes of youth unemployment have been widely analysed and interpreted. There is a general consensus that young people lack proper education and job related skills as well as experience required by the job and labour market. Recently, we saw a decline in demand for workers which is currently exacerbated by the global recession.
The youth cohort is also larger than any other cohort. Owing to higher mobility amongst youth, they are more likely to leave jobs. The lack of labour market information, inexperience with the processes of applying for jobs and limited social networks also contributes.
In addition, the fact that the majority of our youth is concentrated in the townships also is a cause for this challenge. Townships are far from many job opportunities because of their location outside the urban edge or economic nodes. Most of the unemployed in these areas are unskilled and semi-skilled who are unable to be absorbed by the formal sector because the Gauteng economy is largely concentrated in tertiary sectors which require knowledge workers.
In light of this situation, as Gauteng Provincial Government we resolved to develop and implement the Youth Employment Strategy. We decided to respond directly to the plight of young people in townships and semi-rural areas by seeking to develop Youth-owned Economic Hubs.
The identification of these hubs as centres of business exchange is through the municipalities and community members including young people in the main with the view of uplifting young business owners and entrepreneurs that reside and originate from the area. These Economic Hubs are based on the following six key pillars:
- The accessibility of the Economic Hub in relation to geography and tenant mix.
- The financial sustainability of the business ventures.
- The overt expression of youth, innovation and technological advancement.
- The tacit eco-friendly consideration of the day-today operations.
- The cashless system that needs to be implicit in the day to day operation and management of the hub itself.
- Strong Brand positioning and association of Economic Hub.
Through the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, which is the driver of our strategy, we plan to develop three types of hubs in the first phase. These will include Automotive Hub, Enterprise Hub, and Industrial Hub. The department has registered good progress in the implementation of the project through the completion of the conceptual designs (architectural designs), the finalisation of the commercial cases inclusive of the financial model.
The Marketing and Communication Plan has been completed and ready for implementation. We are planning a series of launches of the enterprise hubs throughout the Month of June with an aim of showcasing, forging partnership and mobilising our communities. Today, we are launching the first in the series of the Youth Enterprise Hubs.
The role of the private sector in the implementation of the Youth Employment Strategy cannot be over emphasised. The establishment of the Township Enterprise Hubs is based on the enterprise development finance, equity funding and off take agreements. Through the Department of Economic Development, we have engaged partners like MTN, Consumer Goods Council of South Africa particularly Massmart to assist entrepreneurs with bulk buying. The Township Enterprise Hubs will be granted the Limited Payout Machine (LPM) licenses for young entrepreneurs to get into the industry.
We are convinced that such a programme will go a long way in addressing the challenge of youth unemployment. We would like to appeal to our communities to support this initiative. As we launched the first of these hubs today, we should all commit to throwing our weight behind the success of this programme.
Issued by: Gauteng Office of the Premier
20 Jun 2012
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