By Tendamudzimu Goza

  • Youth unemployment remains a pressing issue in South Africa, particularly affecting those in poor areas like informal settlements and hostels, exacerbating feelings of exclusion and lack of prospects.
  • Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, recognises the importance of addressing living conditions in townships and informal settlements to combat issues such as limited access to education and high unemployment rates among young people.
  • Initiatives like the government service blitz in Boiketlong informal settlement provide opportunities for youth like Ntombi Mbongo to access information, submit job applications, and discover support services such as skills centres, offering hope for a brighter future.

The youth of South Africa continues to experience social issues that are deeply concerning; among these issues is the high rate of youth unemployment, which continues to stand out. This is a result of a growing population in the country, which is not matched by an increase in economic growth. As a result, several young people with great potential feel left out, especially those residing in poor areas such as informal settlements and hostels. 

Some of the issues facing youth, including not furthering their studies and high unemployment, are due to a lack of information and access to services. This prompted the Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, to prioritise the improvement of living conditions in townships, informal settlements, and hostels. 

Last week, as part of the government service blitz in Boiketlong informal settlement near Sebokeng, a visit was made to Ntombi Mbongo, a 20-year-old resident of the area who recently completed her matriculation with a diploma. However, she faced obstacles in furthering her studies at university as the colleges she applied to required bachelor’s level qualifications for admission. Consequently, she found herself staying at home without any prospects for the future.

“Being at home and doing nothing when you have matriculation is painful; it’s like you do not have any qualifications. That is why I came here to look for opportunities to do something.” She said. She saw a message in the community WhatsApp group inviting the community to come to the service blitz, where different government departments would be taking their services directly to the community. “I felt the need to attend the service blitz because I have hopes of getting relevant information from officials on opportunities as someone seeking a job and wanting to further my studies.” 

Mbongo added that she submitted her curriculum vitae and a job form to the Department of Employment and Labor to be listed in their database as an active job seeker. This will increase her chances of finding employment. “Submitting my application form gives me high hopes that my application will be processed and that I will end up getting a job as a reward for taking full advantage of the service blitz.”

She added that she was happy to find out about NPOs such as the Bokamoso Skills Centre, which is one of the many skills centres founded by the Gauteng Department of Social Development to assist with uplifting communities.

Picture by Lehlogonolo Kumalo


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