Youth can be a country’s greatest asset or its biggest burden

Adv Anton Alberts

Our country is part of a historical demographic dividend and could be a tremendously huge asset for the country, but could also be an equally big factor in the destabilising of a state, including South Africa, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on social development says.

Adv. Alberts says Europe and America, and now also China to some extent, could effectively utilise its dividend to secure an enormous economic growth rate and development to the advantage of their citizens.

He said in South Africa’s case, statistics for this group tells a sorry tale. Altogether 50% of all people under the age of 25, who are suited for the labour market, are unemployed. This makes up 30% of all unemployed people in the country.

Of all the learners leaving school, 60% do not have matric. It takes on average 806 days for a person within this age group to get a job and they are competing with 6,5 million other youths in the labour market.

“It could in the foreseeable future lead to unrest due to the frustration amongst the youth. The answer is simple and that is that is to allow the economy to grow so that jobs can be created. Underlying this problem is however the ANC government’s policy which after 20 years is smothering the economy and the labour market.

“The government’s policy falls short with regards to basic education. It is so poor that those who come out of that system. Especially poor black people, are viewed as unemployable, apart for being used as unskilled labour.

“It is a national disgrace and one can only wonder whether the government is purposefully leaving the masses unskilled in an effort to have better control over them. The first step in fixing this is to implement mother-tongue education, more emphasis on mathematics and science and the establishment of higher pass rates.

“Secondly, affirmative action and black economic empowerment have become mere instruments to advantage ANC cadres at the expense of economic growth. These instruments merely redistribute assets and do not create new wealth.

“The correct handling of the policy problems will make economic growth possible through the youth as a demographic dividend. The question is however whether the government will be following the correct policy options: those proven ones which ensured growth in a country such as South Korea or those which lead to hell on earth such as in North Korea,” adv. Alberts says.


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