Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) recently announced that youth unemployment in the country currently stands at 36.1%. In Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, the youth unemployment figure stood at 36.9% at the last national census.
A number of young people in the city, place the blame on their inability to access information. “Some of us are able to access opportunities on the internet”, says Sphamandla a young resident in the city, “but for those without internet access, this is a huge problem”. He goes on to share how the city hosts an annual career expo during youth month, saying that, “we are unemployed and unable to access opportunities throughout the year. So while the expo is a good idea, the city is yet to ensure sustained youth mobilisation to address this problem and beyond that, ensure we are also able to effectively participate in municipal processes”.
The problems he speaks of are addressed in the National Youth Policy, which mandates each municipality to provide a youth desk. This youth desk was envisioned as a key point of youth mobilisation within all municipalities- where young people residing in the area could get information about jobs, bursaries and other opportunities in their area. It was also seen as potentially playing a huge role in ensuring youth participation in the municipality to ensure that young people play a part in making decisions that affect their lives.
In Ekurhuleni, the city has ensured that Customer Care Centres are available to citizens in the communities they service and because of the accessibility of these centres, they are seen to be key spaces in which youth desks can be.
Members of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network residing in Ekurhuleni, have thus started a campaign seeking to ensure that each customer care centre gets a functional youth desk. To join this campaign dial *120*4729*1# and join young people who are demanding that their needs are met by the city.
You are also requested to please share this campaign with other young people, because whilst one young person can be ignored- the plight of thousands cannot be.
Be part of the movement and reclaim your future!
Koketso Moeti is a member of the ACTIVATE! network. This article first appeared on Tame Times.