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SA unemployment rate surges: Expert urges collaboration

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By Lee-Yandra Paulsen

Stats SA announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate rose to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2024, representing 8.2 million people. This is an increase from 7.9 million people in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Portfolio Head of Youth Employment at Momentum Metropolitan, commented on this issue, on Friday on VOC Breakfast. “The unemployment statistics highlight the reality of our sluggish economy. The first quarter numbers reflect the entry of new job seekers, including the 2023 matriculants who did not pursue further studies, contributing to the rising unemployment rate,” said Mahlangu.

Mahlangu also addressed whether enough is being done to curb unemployment. “We are reminded that the government does not necessarily create jobs. This is where corporate South Africa needs to step up and form public-private partnerships with the government. A critical step is conducting comprehensive skills audits to identify essential skills required to sustain our economy,” he explained.

Despite the grim statistics, Mahlangu remains hopeful. “There are promising programs and policies in place. The challenge lies in their implementation. We’ve seen government initiatives aimed at getting young people into jobs. However, it’s crucial to involve all stakeholders in the conversation to explore additional opportunities and avenues,” he said.

Mahlangu emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government and the private sector to address the unemployment crisis effectively. “By working together, we can identify critical skills, create job opportunities, and ensure the implementation of effective programs. This collaborative approach is essential for reducing unemployment and fostering economic growth,” he explained.

VOC News

Photo: Pixabay

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