Deputy President challenges society to think of new ways to empower youth in a post Covid-19 era
Deputy President Mabuza responded to various questions in the National Assembly, focusing on a number of his delegated responsibilities, including his role as the chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council.
This session of questions for oral replies took place a year since the declaration of the national state of disaster and its negative impact on the economy. Deputy President Mabuza highlighted to parliamentarians that the 4th Quarter Labour Force Survey of 2020, found that that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the economy and employment prospects for young people.
The Deputy President said these job losses have been concentrated among a range of already vulnerable groups affecting in the main, individuals in the poorest households, less skilled and low-wage, informal workers, those with transient employment or persistent non-employment histories. In this regard, the Deputy President called for urgent, innovative and coordinated strategies to be crafted towards dealing with poverty and inequality and achieve social cohesion by developing youth, women and people with disabilities.
Deputy President highlighted that the interventions made by government, have assisted a great deal in protecting the vulnerable. Responding to a question on whether the budget is adequate to fund anti-poverty initiatives, the Deputy President assured Parliament that under the current environment of fiscal constraints, the R12,6 billion allocation targeted at the employment stimulus, is adequate.
“Given current fiscal constraints, the interventionist approach that government has adopted will go a long way in providing a cushion against the chilly winds of poverty. Hence the government places a great deal of emphasis on employment stimulus, ramping up of investment opportunities, and identifying new sources of growth”, said Deputy President Mabuza
The Deputy President said major benefits will come through economic activity that these resources seek to ignite. Some practical interventions, are on skills development where training will be extended to young people, particularly women who have lost jobs, or whose jobs became redundant.
In this regard, the Deputy President announced that the new Human Resource Development Strategy for the county is under review towards making it responsive to emerging demands of the economy. In this regard, its focus will be aligned to industry requirements of being innovation-led, entrepreneurship-driven and technologically-advanced as well as respond to the education and skills needs of young people.
The Deputy President also called on the private sector to contribute towards removing barriers facing young people in order to shift their trajectory from learning to earning, by providing learnerships, internships and apprenticeships so that they are able to gain a foothold in the economy.