This latest ANC vote-grabbing exercise is cynical in the extreme

Ideas

This latest ANC vote-grabbing exercise is cynical in the extreme

Employing thousands of youngsters just to toss them back on the streets in five months is scandalous, but expected

Columnist

And just like that 287,000 unemployed youth got paid jobs as “education assistant placement” (sic). Boom. How on Earth did that happen? Pay attention, people. It’s election time. Expect more unexpected gifts as we hurtle towards the municipal polls. Timing perfect, Ebrahim Patel, who just announced that businesses that suffered losses during the July riots and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal will receive help. Wonderful. What else? Free this, free that. Bloody scoundrels, these politicians. The opportunists will stop at nothing.

I train my students to ask the right questions when these freeloaders come promising things. Questions like, why are there still 3,000 schools with pit toilets? Where’s that promised bullet train now that 8,000 people are living on or around Cape Town’s central train line? Why has the top official in government still not been arrested for giving the orders to assassinate courageous whistleblower Babita Deokaran?

There is nothing righteous in giving unemployed youth education jobs for five months (November 1 to March 31) when at least one of those months is in the dead period of the Christmas holidays. The problem of youth unemployment is systemic and structural, meaning there are deeper reasons in the makeup of the economy that explain why 3.4-million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are out of education and jobs and 9.1-million when the age range is stretched from 15 to 34. The latest overall unemployment rate is a massive 34.4% (17.1% in Zimbabwe). These “temp jobs” are too short for training and too shallow for skills acquisition. Seducing desperate youth “to apply for this enriching experience” and then dropping them back on the streets after the election is cynical in the extreme...

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