High unemployment rate in the Free State discouraged

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Young people in the Free State lament the high rate of unemployment numbers as reported in the recent StatsSA labour force survey.
According to the StatSA survey – the Free State experienced job losses over the second and third quarter of this year as compared to the same period last year.

This translates into the province being the only one where the number of the unemployed out-numbers, the employed people.

A young unemployed woman, Lorato Dichakane from Rocklands in Bloemfontein, shared her thoughts on the high unemployment rate.

Dichakane say it is difficult to find a job in South Africa – especially when experience is required from people, who were never before employed.

“They do advertise posts, but those posts look like they already have people. It looks like they take people from their relatives or their families and then they give them those jobs. And then we keep on applying for the same job over and over again, and the the next thing they tell us is that the posts are frozen. Another thing that as young people we don’t appreciate is the fact that, I’m from the school, I just finished my matric now, and then the next thing they tell me they want five years experience. Where am I going to get five years experience from?”

Experts say government, especially the provincial Free State, did little to nothing to stimulate job creation. That is the view, the Economic expert – Mcinazwe Zwane at the Central University of Technology, in reaction to the latest statistics.

“This has been coming, it’s something that we have been talking about for the past five years, that what are we doing as a province in terms of investing into the youth skills. Five years ago there was this Hub about the economic zone that was about to be established on the N3 in Harrismith, Qwaqwa, Maluti-a-Phofung area. Even today, nothing has been done about it. When you come to local part where you find the youth roaming around and hustling, if you ask them what is the problem, they’ve got qualifications, diploma in engineering, diploma in plumbing, etc. But now the role of the government, especially the provincial one, it is not there to be seen by the people.”

Relevant skills

The Free State provincial government concedes that a lot of work is needed including to also ensure young people have relevant skills and support.

“The provincial government is engaged in a holistic and systematic approach, partnering with development finance institutions, sector education training authorities and private sector, to ensure that for example young people that are not in education, employment or training, their number is reduced significantly. There are tens of millions of rand which sector education training authorities have actually made available to train young people, so that we have skilled and capable workforce to support inclusive growth not only in the Free State but in the country,” says Sello Dithebe the Free State premier’s spokesperson.

The overall results of the labour survey stated the number of employed persons increased by 399 000 across all nine provinces.

Unemployment stats expected to remain elevated as Stats SA release quarterly labour force survey: