The Eastern Cape Youth unemployment crises

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the youth unemployment crisis in the Eastern Cape into a disaster, with nearly six out of every ten youth in the province without jobs.

Responding to a question from the Democratic Alliance during a special sitting of the EC Legislature, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the youth unemployment rate in the province is currently at a staggering 58.8%.

While youth unemployment is slightly lower in urban settings, with Nelson Mandela Bay at 53.8% and Buffalo City at 49%, rural youth unemployment is currently at 62%.

Many of these youth do not have access to the tools needed to secure work in an ever increasingly digitalised world.

One of the short-term measures that the province can consider, is to develop access centres throughout the Eastern Cape, modelled on the DA-led Western Cape’s approach of getting things done.

The Western Cape has already rolled out 47 access centres, with a focus on rural areas, making information and communication technology freely available and accessible to communities.

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The Cape Access Programme is committed to opening the doors to enable employment and business opportunities.

These e-centres provide a range of services, including access to the internet, access to email, printing of up to 10 pages per person per day, and access to government information services.

“If a programme like this was rolled out throughout the Eastern Cape it would assist, particularly young people, in accessing job opportunities.

On their own, government programmes are not the answer to creating jobs on a large scale, as they are too small and not long lasting.

We need bold policy reforms and this will only take place if we experiment with new ideas such as the establishment of a specialised export processing zone in Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Bobby Stevenson, the DA Leader in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

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