PYA Youth Month Statement – Intensify youth mobilisation for youth safety and decent jobs for youth

The Progressive Youth Alliance composed of ANCYL, COSAS, COSATU YWF, SASCO and YCLSA jointly representing the vast majority of young people, the employed, unemployed, learners and students in this country will embark on a joint youth month programme. It remains our firm view that the untransformed nature of property relations is at the center of the fundamental challenges confronting the youth. The young people bare the most brunt of the crises of the South African society and economy, the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment.

These crises are further exacerbated by the neoliberal austerity measures on the economic policy characterized by servicing international debt, sales of public productive assets and cutting on public spending on social services like education and health etc.
South Africa’s National Treasury is undoubtedly one of the most untransformed and concerning department post the 1994 democratic transition. The institution harbours the most reactionary intellectual-moral based on capitalist neo-liberal ethics undoubtedly enforced by a leadership that lacks vision and touch with reality. This has led to policy postures that are anti-working class and anti-youth!

The Progressive Youth Alliance will in remembrance and resemblance of the courage, bravery and sacrifices of the 1976 generation observe these 46 years since 1976 with a 46 days long programme of action to raise and amplify the voice of the youth for the battle of youth development as an integral part for human development.

Gender based violence and femicide

Collectively, the Progressive Youth is aggrieved by the forever rising number of gender based violence and femicide statistics. We recognize and properly characterize the GBVF incidents in this country which its victims are mainly young people as a pandemic. The slaughtering of women in South Africa is at its highest provided the latest statistics by the Police Ministry, even the Police Minister acknowledges that South Africa is the most unsafe society.Women and children are exploited by nature as they are already excluded from an active participation in the mainstream economy and in the cooporate sector. The PYA urges all law enforcement agencies to perform their function of protecting the inhabitants of this land especially women and children. The PYA further calls upon all men in South Africa to play a central role in assuring the safety of Women and Children.

On the role of the reserve bank in addressing the state of youth unemployment, underdevelopment, poverty and inequality in the country.

The 2021 4th quarterly labor force survey reveals that the unemployment rate has increased to an unprecedented level since 2008. The reserve bank does not seem to come to foyer in terms of job creation as one of its primary objectives. The central bank places much of its attention on monetary policy of interest rates and other things whereas there are over two thirds of the youth in the country who are unemployed and unemployable due to lack of skills and its business as usual. We call on the Reserve bank to take drastic action to invest in job creating endeavors to eradicate poverty, inequality through increased labor absorption rate especially of young people in the country.

Demand for Access to Universities and TVET colleges through consistent funding of NSFAS

The crisis of youth unemployment is largely characterized by skills mismatch or lack thereof. The National Development plan set a target of about 5% of increase for the student intake in institutions of higher learning and TVETs colleges, however, we observe a decline on the students funded by NSFAS when we compare the current financial year with the previous. This is despite the fact that the need for higher education space increases annually as learners complete matric. The PYA calls for free, compulsory and quality education for all. Education should be free in both monetary terms and free from the ideological stranglehold of capital from the curriculum. We need a curriculum which responds to the political economy of our communities.

We have noted that part of the factors that bottle-neck transformation and broadened access to higher education is low infrastructure development in the sector. The fact that the democratic government has only established only two universities with a low intake since the democratic breakthrough is a serious indictment to our transformation agenda. This is the case while the ANC 54th National Conference resolved that Human Settlement to allocate adequate funding to student accommodation in order to assist in expanding access to the sector.

We call on the regulation of the pricing structure of the student accommodation because majority still charge exorbitantly way above the NSFAS accommodation allocation. We further call on the local municipalities to take responsibility for the student accommodation by making available facilities to increase the provision of decent accommodation for students in their localities.

On Youth development, increased funding for youth enterprises and cooperative development and access to markets.

The Progressive Youth Alliance notes with dismay that over a decade since the approval of the youth employment accord that place among others the duty to set aside funding and procurement for the youth to support youth enterprises. It remains our considered view that small enterprises employ majority of the national workforce and thus there is ought to be a concerted effort to invest funding to small medium enterprises especially the ones owned by the youth. We call on DFIs to fund youth business and that 30% of youth set asides to be part of their KPIs and audit requirements. Young people must be persistent in their entrepreneurial endeavors in the context of Letsema campaign and take responsibility for the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.

One other key issue to young people is the issue of high data costs, considering the nature and character of South African’s telecommunications sector. The decision to sell our spectrum must be relooked as this process will benefit the monopolies in terms of data bundles procurement as an accumulation path rather than an opportunity to improve and invest in infrastructure development to ensure access by rural and poor communities.

On Land reform through land expropriation without compensation and introduction of wealth tax.

In our view, the land question is strategic and important in advancing the transformational agenda of our revolution and correcting the “imbalances of the past” which continues to haunt the present unequal society. The land question is also important in developing South Africa’s productive capacity in a way that does not only benefit a few and rather mobilizes the majority as active participants in the economy.
We call on all political parties especially those who claim to be pro-working class, to put their ideological differences aside and support the Expropriation Bill in their majority which will enable the constitutional amendment for land expropriation. This will significantly disrupt the racialized poverty in the country that culminated from colonialization and land dispossession.

The demand for public and private sector investment in skills development, reskilling and upskilling young workers in the face of the automated workplace and the right to work.

The Progressive Youth Alliance is alive to the developments in the world of work and thus a need for continuous skills development, reskilling and upskilling of workers. We call on the government to properly channel the funds accumulated from the skills development levy of the toiling masses of the land. We support and commend the investigations into the National Skills Funds which obviously these resources are meant to assist in addressing the skills deficit.

We are well aware that the private sector is withholding the funds allocated for skills development and diving for the SETA funding while they take the funds for themselves as profits. We call for the development of the skills of the workers cognizant of the fact that lack thereof informs these rampant retrenchments we are observing in the country for which young people naturally falls prey because of the Last-In First-Out principle in usage.

We call on the end of moratorium in all government levels and filling of those vacancies should be through proper recruitment process and appointment of capable candidates. The PYA rejects vehemently the reduction of staff composition as proposed by regulations of COGTA in municipal political offices planned to take effect from 1 July 2022 as there was no thorough consultation within the alliance. The regulations seek to reduce the staff compliment in the offices of the executive mayors and part of those functionaries eliminated are youth development officers, disability officers, special programme officers among others without a proper plan to undertake the functions attached to those offices.

The PYA calls for the absorption of all Community Health Workers, Community Service Nurses, Doctors, and Pharmacists. The government must also appropriately compensate the community services nurses instead of paying them as student nurses. We call on the government to scrap all contractual work and EPWP for decent employment opportunities. We call on the government to scrap the requirement of experience on the entry level posts and make each work place a training space by allowing work integrated learning and mentorship programmes in their institutions to afford the youth space to gather experience and the knowhow.

The PYA will embark on campaigns and activities to commemorate and celebrate the 1976 generation. We shall roll-out interactions with various youth sectors across the country and will join the national youth Day commemorations in Eastern Cape on June 16, 2022. We will convene a Youth Month rally in Free State on June 26, 2022 as part of celebrating the freedom charter day and close the youth month in July 16, 2022 through a march to the Union Buildings demanding decent jobs for youth.

These struggles we shall wage side-by-side till we meet our demands. It is not the time to mourn on youth unemployment but time to mobilise.

Issued by PYA Secretariat

COSAS – Tebogo Magafane,
SASCO – Buthanani Thobela,
COSATU YW – Siyabonga Mkhize,
YCLSA – Tinyiko Ntini and
ANCYL – Joy Maimela.

For more information contact:

Mzwandile Thakhudi – YCLSA National Spokesperson
Mobile: 079 994 6391.

Sizophila Mkhize – ANCYL National Spokesperson

Mobile: 078 436 6831

Luvuyo Barnes – SASCO National Media Liaison Officer

Mobile: 079 393 7131

Douglas Ngobeni- COSAS National Spokesperson

Mobile: 068 5845344

Siyabonga Mkhize -COSATU YWF National Secretary

Mobile: 074 793 6738

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