Business Day Youth Day

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16 JUNE 2021



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RAISING YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS FOR A CHANGING CLIMATE New entrepreneurial development programme to create greater environmental awareness and responsibility among the youth and assist in addressing unemployment

Primestars’ Step Up 2 A Green Start Up programme enables young learners to find local solutions to society’s problems.

and developed a unique entrepreneurial development programme for South African youth. By adapting the lean start-up methodology, encouraging platform businesses and focusing on the sharing and circular economies, the maker movement and internet of things, participating learners can find innovative local solutions to society’s most pressing social and environmental problems. The programme – titled Step Up 2 A Green Start Up – will inspire South African youth to accept environmental responsibility and choose a regenerative and distributive future by: • helping young people move from a fixed mindset (job seeker) to a growth mindset (job creator) • seeing environmental challenges as new business opportunities • shifting from making disposable products to producing reusable goods • using technology to enable their green businesses • encouraging critical and creative thinking, communication and imaginative problem-solving skills • developing resilience to face difficulties: fail, learn and try again • co-creating collaboratively within teamsprioritising people and planet over profit alone • promoting biosphere consciousness

The programme – titled Step Up 2 A Green Start Up – will inspire South African youth to accept environmental responsibility and choose a regenerative and distributive future.

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• doing more and better with less while delivering value to customers and their communities.

CORE ELEMENTS Primestars’ unique and exciting multimedia platform combines education and entertainment into three core elements of the programme. • The production and national screening of an educational film (in cinemas, schools and digitally) in which young entrepreneurs start a business that tackles social and environmental problems. • An ecopreneurs toolkit, which is given to all participating learners. • A national green challenge competition and awards ceremony. As Greta Thurnberg aptly said: “Our house is on fire”. Let’s put out the flames and build something different in its place. There are two fires: one is climate change, burning up the world as we know it. The second is in the belly of the new generation of young activists. Their voices give us energy. Their vision points towards our best future. Together, we have to feed that fire and help it grow. Primestars invites you to join in igniting young entrepreneurs for a changing climate by supporting Step Up 2 A Green Start Up. For more information:

+27 11 430 4740

images: supplied


early half a century after the 1976 June 16 uprising, South African youth find themselves in a new fight against two existential threats – the unemployment crisis and the climate emergency. It begs the question, is there still hope for total economic participation as Nelson Mandela put it? The short answer: yes, and Primestars has established a development model – launching in August, with over 10 000 youth participating – to keep hope alive. Stats SA recently released unemployment data declaring the unemployment rate at 32.6 per cent and the expanded youth unemployment rate at an alarming 74.7 per cent. As if South Africa’s challenges are not enough, the climate crisis is the most threatening to young people and humanity as a whole. This very same climate emergency has the potential to create job opportunities in the green economy to address the youth unemployment crisis. According to the Afroberometer, more than half of South Africans said that they had never heard of climate change. Knowledge is the vaccine for what currently ails us. Primestars is a majority-black womanowned youth development organisation, with over 15 years’ experience, benefitting the most vulnerable communities across the country. As part of its contribution to curbing the national youth unemployment crisis, Primestars, in collaboration with Sanlam, Omnia, Sasria, Safripol, Clicks, EOH, SEDA, PAMSA, SAPPI, Mpact, Mulilo, Gauteng Film Commission, MMI, Zutari, Buhle Waste and RPC Astrapak (among others), has researched

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n this edition of Youth Day, we look at some of the issues facing young people and what could possibly be done about them. We unpack the impact that skills development has on preparing young people for an increasingly competitive jobs market, especially in a digitised world and economy. It is also important to remember where we come from as a country and to honour the genesis of Youth Day, born out of the massacre of hundreds of young people who were merely protesting being taught in Afrikaans in Soweto in 1976. We owe it to those young people to make South Africa a successful country, so that their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of many others, would not have been in vain.

Ryland Fisher, Editor



Remembering the significance of Youth Day


Just how prepared is the next generation for 4IR?

7 UNEMPLOYMENT COPYRIGHT: No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material. Youth Day is published by Picasso Headline. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Picasso Headline. All advertisements/advertorials have been paid for and therefore do not carry any endorsement by the publisher.

What government needs to do to turn the tide


Plates4Days university nutrition programme; The SANDF’s Koba-Tlala project


Sanlam’s youth development programmes; Lucha Lunako’s youth report


Creating drivers of change for SA’s economy

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Remembering the

significance of Youth Day RYLAND FISHER writes that the best way to pay tribute to young people who gave their lives in 1976 is to make sure that young people now and in the future have no reason to protest other political organisations in 1990. This resulted in our first democratic elections on 27 April 1994, just over 27 years ago. Mandela, of course, had spent 27 years in prison for his resistance to apartheid.

Similarities and differences As expected, there are similarities and differences between the youth of 1976 and the youth of 2021. One of the differences is that while the youth of 1976 wanted to break down the apartheid state, the youth of 2021 have an opportunity to help build a democratic state. The 1976 generation saw their task as opposing everything that was being done by the apartheid state, effectively making the country ungovernable, because black people were not allowed to vote or have a say in decisions affecting their lives. The youth of today can participate in our democracy in many different ways: through voting for their preferred political party at election times, to participating in nongovernmental pressure groups, to joining protest actions if they believe their voice is not being heard.

Feeling betrayed Over the past few years, I have been part of a process of dialogues where we spoke about the South Africa we want to live in, and we found that many young people feel betrayed by our democracy and our leaders. Young people, by virtue of being the majority, feel the brunt of unemployment – the

“While the youth of 1976 wanted to break down the apartheid state, the youth of 2021 have an opportunity to help build a democratic state.” 2


The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 392 on 19 June 1976 which strongly condemned the killings and the apartheid government. official figure is around 30 per cent, but some economists have estimated that the youth unemployment rate could be as high as 60 per cent. The state of our economy could be blamed in part for this sorry state of affairs, but so could bad planning and policy making. The ANC, which has been governing South Africa for the past 27 years, has often taken decisions in the interest of the party and not the people they are meant to serve. The best way to pay tribute to young people who gave their lives in 1976 is to make sure that young people would, in future, have no reason to protest because they would have free education and health care, access to decent jobs and housing, access to proper justice and the freedom to live their lives and enjoy their youth without fear of being shot and killed in our violent country. We must not only make sure that the kind of massacre that happened in Soweto in 1976 never happens again. We must also make sure that the conditions that led to the massacre no longer exist.



une 16 1976 will forever be etched in our memories by Sam Nzima picture of a bloodied 12-year-old Hector Pieterson, being carried by an emotional Mbuyisa Makhubu (then around 18) while Hector’s 17-year-old sister Antoinette runs frantically beside him. As far as could be ascertained, Pieterson was the second child to be shot by police during the protest by high school learners in Soweto against being taught in Afrikaans. The first protester to die was Hastings Ndlovu, 15, whose death was not recorded by photographers. In some ways, this was a forerunner to what is happening today with the advent of social media and fancy cameras on mobile phones: It’s almost like some things never happened because they were not caught on camera or posted on social media. Hundreds more were to be killed in the days and weeks that followed June 16 1976, not only in Soweto but throughout the country where other schools also joined the protests. Youth Day has its genesis in one of the worst massacres in South African history. Until the ANC government changed its name, declared it an official public holiday and cut it to one day: June 16 and 17 had always been known as Soweto Days. Throughout the country, the days became unofficial holidays. Many historians credit the events of June 1976 in Soweto for the revival of the resistance inside South Africa which finally led to the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the unbanning of the ANC and


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SAICA is building a pipeline of future business leaders by capacitating historically disadvantaged institutions the University of Venda.

Thuthuka’s collaboration with the Sector Education and Training Authority Services (SETAs) has proven fruitful for all parties


artnerships: one of the most powerful tools when it comes to helping an organisation achieve its aims. In the case of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), these aims include working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a keen focus on quality education (SDG 4) and decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). SAICA’s Gugu Makhanya explains that the SETAs’ support has been central to the success of Thuthuka, the organisation’s vehicle for transformation and skills development. “We have the drive to transform, grow and own the accounting education landscape in South Africa. Thuthuka helps us get closer to achieving this objective by becoming involved from school level up to professional qualification level,” Makhanya explains, noting that Thuthuka’s endeavours have helped to build a pipeline of future business leaders.


“Another critical element of Thuthuka’s strategic focus is South Africa’s National Development Plan: Vision for 2030. This calls on the private, public and civic sectors, as well as South Africa’s citizens, to rally behind a united vision of South Africa’s development. The commitment of the Department of Higher Education and Training, through the SETAs, can not go without mention here.” Goals of this magnitude cannot be achieved working in isolation – this is where the SETAs have a key role to play. The partnership is a natural one as the SETAs are mandated to contribute to skills development, especially among individuals who are already employed

or seeking employment. As Makhanya comments, “there is a perfect synergy between these bodies.” Makhanya says that the SETAs’ greatest contribution towards Thuthuka, since its inception, has been their generous funding, which she describes as “the lifeline of Thuthuka”.

FOCUS ON THE FINANCIAL AND ACCOUNTANCY SECTOR Ayanda Mafuleka, CEO of the Financial and Accounting Services SETA (FASSET), says that as a former beneficiary of a programme funded by this SETA, she has personal experience of the value of the body’s work with Thuthuka – which is why she is an enthusiastic supporter of its efforts. “The skills needed by the financial industry remain scarce, especially

“SAICA’s goal is to transform, grow and own the accounting education landscape in South Africa. Thuthuka helps us get closer to achieving this objective by becoming involved from school level up to professional qualification level.” – Gugu Makhanya

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among people from previously disadvantaged communities. And yet, they are crucial: chartered accountants (CAs(SA)) have the competencies required to drive and manage our country’s financial reserves. Without them, there is little hope of staying on track either to grow the economy or to move away from the informal sector, which currently accounts for many jobs in South Africa.” FASSET, because it is not a tertiary institution or education service provider, has to rely on other organisations as implementing agents to help it meet its objective of increasing the flow of new accountants into the broader economy, and African black entrants, in particular, into the sector, she adds. “Thuthuka has done exceptionally well in this regard. The demographic profile of the sector has changed dramatically over the past two decades.” FASSET’s role in the partnership extends to offering support at all stages of prospective accountants’ careers, starting with career guidance to increase the throughput rate of learners with pure mathematics and accounting as subjects of choice to a bursary scheme to fund undergraduate studies. The SETA also funds postgraduate studies in the form of the CTA qualification, one of the minimum requirements for sitting for SAICA’s qualifying examinations, and provides academic support for those writing the exam. “This is important in helping to address high failure rates”, says Mafuleka, “it’s not uncommon for learners who have done well in their undergraduate and CTA qualifications to find this part of their journey particularly challenging. This is why we work to cement all learnings until this point. We place special emphasis on supporting students who have had to repeat the work so that when they time comes to sit the APC exams, they’re ready.” In 2019 and 2020, FASSET allocated more than R41-million for 945 learners to benefit from academic support and take part in the FASSET Bursary Scheme and Professional Body Designation programmes. Mafuleka says she hopes that more students who graduate from this journey will consider the public sector as an employment option as the sector has great need of CAs(SA), their skills and moral compass. FASSET’s support of Thuthuka is set to continue in the long-term, she adds. Going forward, the SETA would like to see a greater emphasis on assisting students who have graduated from TVET colleges. She also feels that significant benefits could be derived from formalising FASSET’s funding programme through the implementation of a memorandum of understanding with stated targets. “This would be sure to boost throughput,” she says.

BANK ON SUSTAINABLE PROGRAMMES The Banking Sector Education and Training

Geography should not stand in the way of education - SAICA and BANKSETA celebrate accreditation at the University of Zululand.

“Both entities [Thuthuka and BANKSETA] are geared towards upskilling people so that they can contribute as economic agents, not only in the banking sector, but also in the greater economy.” – Mia Makhanya Authority (BANKSETA), which focuses on education and training in the banking sector, is another SETA that has contributed funds and supported the Thuthuka programme. Mia Makhanya, chairperson of the BANKSETA’s board, explains that BANKSETA’s ambit encompasses other commerce-related fields too, including the information and communications technology and engineering fields, which is why there is strong alignment between its goals and those of Thuthuka. “Both entities are geared towards upskilling people so that they can contribute as economic agents, not only in the banking sector, but also in the greater economy,” she explains. BANKSETA collaborated with Thuthuka, along with the University of Johannesburg, the University of Venda and the University of Zululand, in a multimillion-rand project, equipping the latter two tertiary institutions with the capability to offer a professional accounting science degree. This has helped to make education more accessible, paving the way for both Venda and Zululand universities to receive accreditation in 2018. “These institutions can now welcome learners wishing to study for an accredited BCom so that they can go on to qualify as CAs(SA),” Makhanya says. The number of students

quick to take advantage of the universities’ new status is proof of the need for the programme: around 400 students enrolled in the University of Zululand’s accounting undergraduate programme following its accreditation. Furthermore, 37 students from the University of Venda went on to receive awards of excellence for their performance in various modules. Although the four-year project came to an end in 2018, BANKSETA has continued to support strategic projects that have the potential to develop appropriate skills and is eager to do more work of this nature. Especially, says Makhanya, in areas where factors such as geography impede access to education and, by extension, industry transformation. “We feel that partnerships such as this are critical. Skills development cannot be left to the government alone,” Makhanya concludes. SAICA’s Gugu Makhanya notes that Thuthuka welcomes funds from all organisations within the profession. For more information about Thuthuka: 011 621 660 17 Fricker Road, Illovo, Johannesburg

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MTN’s Schools connectivity programme has, over the years, donated over 300 multimedia centres across South African schools.

Are we ready for 4IR?


efore we talk about how our young people are being prepared for a digital world, we have to discuss the key areas in which we need to prepare ourselves if we are to thrive as a country in this digital world,” says Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, University of Johannesburg vice chancellor and principal. He identifies the five key areas as: skills, infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, corporate and research incentives and the technology itself. “We need to examine whether all these elements are optimised to help us thrive in a world increasingly driven by technology,” he says. “It comes down to training, development, will, funding and capacity”. Professor Marwala says within South Africa, there are pockets of excellence where people are implementing 4IR technology to the highest Prof global standards. Still, Tshilidzi Marwala a vast swathe of the population is completely excluded from participating. “COVID-19 has thrust many of us into the heart of a 4IR world, and we need to close the gap for people who haven’t had the privilege of being


able to take advantage of the quantum leaps we’ve taken,” he says. Telecommunications companies such as MTN are also working on fostering digital inclusion, through the MTN SA Foundation. “We know that while South Africa has made notable strides in broadening access to telecommunications and technology, the country continues to be characterised by a deep digital divide,” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, executive for corporate affairs at MTN South Africa. “This perpetuates unequal access to opportunities, making it harder for historically disadvantaged youth to benefit from employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. While young people are often considered ‘digital natives’, the majority don’t possess sufficient digital skills required for them to succeed in the workforce”.

Zero to hero MTN have zero-rated access to enable e-learning with the Siyavula Foundation, over 1 000 educational, public benefits websites and e-learning resources for all grades and subjects and opened access to vital online learning materials for South Africa’s Grade 10-12 students. In the tertiary space, through the Department of Higher Education and Training, MTN has zero-rated public universities and 20 TVET

Non-profit organisation, Sakhikamva Foundation has helped Silverlea Primary school pupils and teachers in Athlone in the Western Cape become the first in South Africa to launch a 4th Industrial Revolution (4iR) STREAM laboratory. STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Aeronautics and Mathematics) education enables children to enjoy hands-on experience with the new technologies such as drones, 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence.



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colleges websites and MTN Business has partnered with Unisa to provide students with data and financially supported the Eastern Cape Provincial Government in setting up studios to conduct virtual classes. “In collaboration with MTN Business, MTN Pulse launched the Youth Best App Category for the MTN Business App of the Year Awards,” says O’Sullivan. “Young people get an opportunity to enrol and acquire app development skills through the MTN Business App Academy, where they then get an opportunity to turn an innovative idea into an app and then compete in the awards. There they stand a chance of winning prize money to help them kick-start their business”.

Bringing it home Marwala says that South Africa’s status as the continent’s most industrialised country has placed us near the top of the technology pile – but we still lag in some areas. “There are countries like Rwanda, where they’re using drones to deliver essential medical supplies – and we’re not there yet. Globally, though, we’re far behind, which tells you how underdeveloped we are as a continent. That won’t change unless we’re able to equip young people to explore and study what’s being done globally by investing in human capacity, and then having them bring their knowledge home”. He says that bridging the divide between those who are digitally literate and those who aren’t is vital. “We must appreciate that even operating software such as Zoom daily – which many of us now use requires a certain level of skill, never mind the technology and online access. Illiteracy is still about learning to read and write – but digital illiteracy is about to be our next big education problem in the country. “It’s vital that both the youth and adults have digital literacy as part of any education so that everyone can face a 4IR world confidently”.


TREVOR CRIGHTON finds out just how prepared our next generation is for the challenges and opportunities of new technology

Jacqui O’Sullivan

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Access to digital tools is critical to upskill the youth in scarce skills to turn the tide of unemployment.

What do we need to do to get the

youth employed? In the first months of hard lockdown, 2.2-million people lost their jobs. Hardest hit have been the youth. By PUSELETSO MOMPEI




outh Africa’s unemployment rate reached 32.5 per cent in the last months of 2020, the highest since Statistics South Africa’s quarterly labour force survey began in 2008. In February of this year, the survey showed 63.2 per cent of those unemployed are between the ages of 15 and 24. CEO of Global Business Solutions and labour analyst Jonathan Goldberg says one of the major stumbling blocks when it comes to the issue of youth unemployment is policy. “We need to have more flexibility in labour laws. Employers should be able to engage youth for a few months without having to worry about South Africa’s labour law too much,” he says. “This will free up the system to allow young people to enter the workforce, gain some experience, pick up some skills quickly, network and get insider information in their sector.” Labour analyst and founder of, Mike Schussler says because most businesses are small, government must find easy ways to encourage job creation. “For say, every intern in a company with less than 10 people they could pay the rate for two to the company so that income is shared between the employer and the person

he appoints to mentor or train the young person.” Schussler says the economy needs to grow past four per cent a year which is the world average for South Africa to attract more capital and create more jobs - weak growth plays a role. Goldberg says that the world is increasingly digital so youth need access to data and centres to study and work. “Real access to digital education is crucial. After they have picked up digital skills, youth also need help positioning their skills and marketing them. There are global marketplaces that South African youth should be on, but they need to be guided on building portfolio and demonstrating their capabilities.”

Government’s role Goldberg says government needs to be asking whether it’s spending money in the right place and has the correct incentive schemes in place. “For example, we could look more closely at the SETAs and interrogate if there is a better way to get training to youth. Many government systems are expensive and bureaucratic. We could use that money and focus on being output focused, and making sure schemes deliver on helping more young people secure work.” Schussler says, “If government could create more political and economic certainty that

“Thinking big business all the time must become a thing of the past.” – Mike Schussler

would help business confidence and consumer confidence, that would change our mindset away from fear.” Schussler believes government should encourage self-employment. “One way could be to reward people who perform certain tasks like waste pickers who clean sidewalks or fix streetlights.” Instead of public works programmes, he says, government can offer an incentive to work and therefore encourage more people to participate in ongoing tasks that are essential to communities functioning.

Small firms matter “Too often, government policy is drafted as if all firms are big. Small firms with less than 10 people employ about half of people in the private sector. When formulating policy, government must consider how a small firm would be impacted. Thinking big business all the time must become a thing of the past.” Goldberg cautions that the situation is critical. “We need decisive, definitive action and a road map that will drive youth employment.” He believes one way would be for the public and private sectors to partner on projects that make a difference. For instance, where possible, businesses should work closely with TVET colleges in their relevant industries and align output with skills needed on the ground. Schussler echoes this, saying, “Private sector should also be saying what they need so that technical colleges and universities can provide that practically in teaching and learning courses.”


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Plates4Days food packages.

Plates4Days JSE-listed packaged goods company, Tiger Brands, celebrates 13 years of the Plates4Days university nutrition programme. DENISE MHLANGA takes a look at its success


Mary-Jane Morifi, Tiger Brands’ chief lates4Days addresses a critical need corporate affairs officer. for food security with provisions for Since its inception in 2008, the the needy, and supports about Plates4Days programme supports 4 500 students annually at nine campuses across five South students at institutions including the African universities. University of Johannesburg, University “The impact of COVID-19 on food of the Witwatersrand, Nelson Mandela security highlighted the need for University, University of the Western programmes like Plates4Days. Cape and the University of the Throughout lockdown, we Free State. Universities select participants provided nutritional food hampers Mary-Jane Morifi to ensure that the programme to university students,” says

is fairly managed and reaches students who would benefit the most. Qualifying students are given food hampers designed to last a full month while they live and learn on campus. The hamper provides dietary staple food items like Ace Quick Cook Super Maize Meal, Tastic Rice, Fattis & Monis Macaroni, Koo Chakalaka, Koo Mixed Vegetables, Koo Baked Beans and Black Cat Peanut Butter. Morifi says through the Tiger Brands Foundation, and in collaboration with the Department of Education, they continued with the School Breakfast programme which supports over 100 schools with a hot breakfast meal. In various communities, youth who are not at school are given monthly food hampers to avoid starvation. This is done in partnership with 15 NGOs. “To ensure food security and that students have adequate sustainable food, there needs to be collaboration among all role players,” she adds.

Koba-Tlala: Chasing away hunger


oosely translated, Koba-Tlala, a national project with initiatives in all provinces, means ‘chasing away hunger’ in Tswana. That’s according to brigadiergeneral Gerhard Kamffer, Chief SANDF Project Koba-Tlala director. “Project Koba-Tlala is the SANDF contribution to the developmental agenda and other priorities of the SA government. Its primary beneficiaries are defence reserves and it also benefits the communities and families they come from,” says Kamffer. The project pilot phase was introduced during the 2015/16 financial year and officially launched in August 2017. It enabled the SANDF to use its footprint in rural and semi-rural areas in terms of units, land and spending of resources in conjunction with local communities, rural towns, provincial governments and other stakeholders to augment rural developmental initiatives. Kamffer explains that Reserve Force members can meaningfully engage in solving


community challenges through carefully Women in uniform learning more about Animal chosen projects focused at creating viable Production as part of Project Koba-Tlala training. sustainable local economies. The projects fulfil a need in society, aim to change people’s perception to view the SANDF as more than just providing defence and to achieve a high success rate and value proposition within communities. “Our members are equipped with the necessary minimum knowledge, skills and attitudes to be competent and effective in identified community development interventions.” According to Kamffer, Koba-Tlala is an ongoing project with long-term objectives. These include assisting with the facilitation of a process whereby commercial farmers, Scan code to watch a video about Koba-Tlala. small-scale and emerging farmers can join hands in co-operatives from which the Department of Defence is able to procure agricultural and other products, goods and services. Project Koba-Tlala aims to identify further resources for strategic implementation that will include agri-processing support platform options, and forming strategic partnerships focusing on the youth, he says. “Additionally, Project Koba-Tlala also facilitates the reskilling of predominantly unemployed reserves in a variety of areas to enable their utilisation in their local Scan the code to read more about Koba-Tlala. communities,” says Kamffer.


To play its part in ensuring access to food in South Africa, the South African National Defence Force aims to contribute to food security for its reserves. DENISE MHLANGA reports


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Why ouR

youth matters


ince its establishment in 2011, the Sanlam Foundation has invested R630-million in local communities through various initiatives. Some of the foundation’s work deals with initiatives targeted specifically at the youth, especially in the areas of Consumer Financial Education and Enterprise Supplier Development. Nozizwe Vundla, Head of Sanlam Foundation, says investing in youth initiatives is an important business imperative for Sanlam. “We have a huge population of young people in South Africa, and they need initiatives that address their needs. As a business we need to ensure that we have a stable and sustainable base to conduct our business and that means investing in our Nozizwe Vundla local communities.

Sanlam speaks to THANDO PATO about its involvement in youth education programmes “We won’t flourish as a business if this sector’s needs are not addressed,” she says.

The seeds of literacy Vundla says as a financial services company, a key focus area in their youth development strategy is financial literacy, which is addressed at underprivileged primary and high schools through literacy and math’s literacy programmes. She says the foundation has a programme that

Reshaping and reimagining the development of SA’s youth Youth development lab, LUCHA LUNAKO released its Youth Development Reimagined Report recently. Here’s what it said:





Unemployment high

Even though 20 per cent of the national budget (six per cent of Gross Domestic Product) is spent on education, South Africa has one of the weakest education systems in the world. You are more likely to earn 72 per cent more with a tertiary qualification, however. Still, the cost of tertiary education makes it inaccessible to the vast majority.

South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in world at 29 per cent. Currently 58 per cent of youth between 15 and 25 are unemployed. There are 17 times more registered job seekers than vacancies advertised. It will take 30 years to eliminate unemployment at the current job growth rate.

sponsors several government schools in underdeveloped areas throughout the country. “Research has shown that children in our schools struggle with reading for meaning which has many implications - including affecting their ability to grasp or link math’s concepts. The aim, therefore, is to improve their comprehension skills and in turn improve their math’s literacy.” Financial literacy remains important for those who have finished school, and the foundation runs several programmes aimed at addressing this gap to empower the youth.

Providing opportunities Besides financial literacy Sanlam also sponsors the following youth-centric programmes: • The Youth Values Leadership Programme with partner Columba aimed at high school learners, with a special focus on matric exam readiness and university readiness. • The Youth Enterprise Development Programme aimed at Grade 10 to 12 high school learners with partners, Primestars. This programme encourages young people to look for business opportunities in their communities around a specific theme each year and is in the form of a competition and prizes. These include incubation opportunities after matric, bursaries, cash and electronic devices. • The government-led Youth Employment Services (YES) initiative aims to empower one million young South Africans by offering paid quality work experiences over a three year period. Sanlam has provided employment to over 300 young people through the programme.

Key findings Although significant efforts are being made within youth development, the prospects for employment for SA’s youth remain grim. Youth development outcomes and impacts are low relative to the investment being made in the sector. Focus has been on providing youth with technical skills, workplace readiness and work experience, rather than looking at how young people are affected and shaped by poverty and inequality and providing holistic, intentional, high quality development and support.

DEALING W ITH THE REALITIES Clearer and more practical pathways to matric and further education need to be defined. Young people need to be exposed to career guidance and possibilities beyond their frame of reference.


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South Africa’s youth should not only be seen as workers in the labour market, but also as employers, social innovators and drivers of progress.

becoming obsolete, and less on developing and supporting young entrepreneurs. “There’s very little alignment between most government policies and the NDP. There is scant understanding of the NDP, even from people making policy decisions within government who aren’t actually reading and engaging enough with the plan.

Innovative thinking needed “There needs to be a greater and deeper understanding of the NDP from policy makers dealing with the youth. The National Youth Policy deals with economic empowerment by focusing on jobs in the traditional sense, which is not where the future lies, and less on innovative thinking around entrepreneurship,” says Dooms. She says the policy is focused on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises as a route towards the economic participation of young people in the economy. While not doubting government’s commitment to enabling youth employment - with the NPC’s The youth should not only be workers, but help drive SA’s economy. research showing that annually around R17By JERMAINE CRAIG billion is spent on such interventions by the state alone – Dooms nevertheless says it’s important to evaluate existing interventions before here there is money in the economy, Old normal is years away embarking on new activities and spending. for South Africa’s youth there are no Nkoana-Mashabane declared health the She also believes the Youth Policy has not jobs. When young people try and country’s number one priority as was sufficiently taken into account research done create jobs by opening businesses, cushioning its majority of young people against by the NPC on “youth labour there is no money. the negative impact of this market transitions”. So says Tessa Dooms, the National Planning pandemic, given that South “Three models that can Commission’s outgoing Commissioner for Africa’s economy is unlikely to move us closer are normal Youth on the plight of the country’s youngsters go back to normal in the next formal employment, SME in today’s job market. two to three years. development and the Youth continue to comprise the largest Nkoana-Mashabane said strengthening of the social proportion of the country’s unemployed, with she believed the Youth Policy economy, which does not the National Development Plan’s (NDP) call for was now more “responsive to emerge as strongly as it the creation of 11 million new jobs between 2012 the needs and aspirations of should. The private sector has and 2030 looking increasingly out of reach. young people”. Maite a role to play in realising an The National Youth Policy 2020-30 (NYP30) It would, she said, prioritise Nkoana-Mashabane improved South Africa, but the was launched in March this year by Minister in quality education, physical Youth Policy does not tackle the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons and mental health, skills and inequality in the workplace well. with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. second chances, economic transformation, “Where there is money in the formal economy, At the launch, Nkoana-Mashabane said entrepreneurship, and job creation. there is still discrimination and no jobs. while the youth were already marginalized Nkoana-Mashabane said the Fourth Whereas for young people working in their own prior to the COVID pandemic, their situation Industrial Revolution (4IR) had led to communities and opening their own businesses, had now “further been worsened and made technology progressing at an unprecedented there is no money,” says Dooms. more complicated”. pace and “as a country, we need to ensure The Youth Policy, Dooms says, is “narrow “At the onset of the pandemic, their the creation of an inclusive, enabling and unfocused”. She says its economic chapter education got disrupted. They became socially environment, which benefits from the 4IR. needs to be rewritten. isolated, anxious and depressed due to We must change how we teach our children “The youth challenge is greater than the lockdown restrictions. The high prevalence and youth as new careers will arise, while issue of employment. It’s about improving the of gender-based violence and other work may be made overall input and role of young people in the femicide increased.” redundant by technology”. socioeconomic development of the country Those who were looking for Dooms, however, believes – not only as workers in the labour market, jobs, the minister said, could the policy focuses too but also as employers, social innovators and not continue and were locked much on the traditional drivers of progress.” further out of the economy. jobs sector, which is fast That’s as, she said: “Youth owned businesses suffered Tessa loss of income and employment Dooms which threatened young people’s livelihoods.” Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Driving change

“We must change how we teach our children and youth as new careers will arise, while other work may be made redundant by technology.” –





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Lucha LunakoTM builds pathways to decent work through partnerships, collaboration and innovation.

Whether your business needs to implement skills development or YES Youth Solutions or it wants to engage at a deeper level on the issue of youth unemployability, using Lucha Lunako’s services means that your organisation will have access to our resources, knowledge and insights about the youth ecosystem. At Lucha LunakoTM our cooperative offering comprises: • Bespoke youth development interventions adapted from our Youth Have It™ framework and aligned to our vision, values and current activities. • Youth development advisory and thought leadership at corporate level. • Implementation of learnerships under BEE. • Implementation of the YES youth initiative including full end-to-end project management.


Youth 15–24 Years Are Unemployed. Highest Youth Unemployment Rate In The World


Of The Population Is Under 35


27.6 Years Median Age


South Africa’s Unemployment Rate

20.66 Million Current Youth Population 15–34 Years


1. Providing the youth with technical and workplace-readiness 1. We need to carefully consider the root causes of youth unemployment and unemployability, which often expands beyond skills and work experience alone will substantially help work-readiness and include context and lived experience. them succeed.

2. Youth are a problem to be fixed.

2. A key finding through our research is that most youth lack wellformed adult foundations, starting with agency and extending into numerous basic competence skills, making it almost impossible for young people to build strong technical skills and absorb workplace skills and experience.

3. Youth are lazy and don’t take up opportunities presented to them.

3. Youth can, must and should be included in solution-building.

4. “Soft skills” are a catch-all for human development and aren’t as important as technical skills.

4. The youth are inherently talented and have the potential to succeed, but need assistance in unlocking their talents to gain access to meaningful employment opportunities.

5. Young people will automatically engage in the best development programmes.

5. A holistic approach to developing individuals with a focus on lifelong development, rather than just a journey to a minimum wage job, is critical.

6. Business understands the youth well and knows how to actively engage them.

6. Preparing young people for nonexistent jobs is morally questionable. We must also prepare young people for incomegenerating opportunities like side-hustles and nanobusiness.


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