South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that the government is intensifying its investment drive and removing the red tape that holds back business growth and greater employment creation.
“The fact that millions of young people are not in employment, education or training is the greatest challenge facing our country today,” he told a Youth Day Rally at Mthatha Stadium in the Eastern Cape.
“We remain focused on far-reaching economic reforms and creating conditions for the expansion of businesses throughout the country,” he said.
The latest programme to be launched through the employment stimulus was the social employment fund.
“It has begun to recruit 50,000 participants in community safety, food and nutrition, digital inclusion, and sports, arts and recreation,” Ramaphosa said.
“Members of the public are now able to track detailed progress with implementation and receive up-to-date information about the intervention.
“Young people can join the network through an online platform, SAYouth.mobi, which is data free on all mobile networks.”
Ramaphosa also spoke about the strides his government has made in education.
“Our school feeding schemes have ensured that no child is hungry at school. Today, our country produces four times the number of African graduates than we did in 1994,” the president said.
“These graduates have gone on to become leading doctors, technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs.”
The president also addressed the successes of the national social security system, saying it offered a “level of basic social protection to every marginalised and vulnerable citizen, especially children”.
Ramaphosa announced new measures the government was taking to “remove the barriers that young people confront when trying to enter the public service”.
“We are reducing the cost and effort of applying for positions. For example, applicants for public service positions are no longer required to submit certified copies of their educational qualifications and other relevant documents.
“This simple change will significantly reduce the cost of applying, improve turnaround times and reduce the administrative burden on departments,” he said.
“Today, we are proud to announce the official launch of the revitalised national youth service. Youth service can contribute to civic responsibility, a common identity, development and nation building.”
According to the president, the youth employment service — known as YES — was another important initiative that has reached key milestones over the past year, creating what he called quality work for 82,000 youngsters.
He said the department of trade, industry & competition was establishing a fund to support an enabling ecosystem for young people to engage in forms of enterprise and self-employment.
“In the past financial year, 7,500 young people have received financial enterprise support and over 30,000 young people have received other enterprise support from the National Youth Development Agency and the department of small business development.”