Good News

The best thing about current news isn’t found in the comics section, nor even in comic books, it is in the business pages, and says good things are to come. Yes, there is a high unemployment rate in South Africa with startling figures from 24 to 26% depending on who you’re talking to. However, instead of looking at dreary figures that show how far South Africa has yet to go, this is about showing how far South Africa has come.

If one can recall, the Apartheid period was one, if not the most, bleak period of South Africa. Since it ended, the country has been enjoyed reasonable growth, positive international attention and support. In fact, among other African countries, South Africa is experiencing a considerable number of refugees streaming in from other parts of the region. This is a clear sign that many Africans see South Africa as “a better place.”

Job Creation in South Africa

In a report published in November 2013, the months of September and October saw almost 42,000 new jobs created. This compensated for the decline in jobs in the previous 4 months. In addition, job creation in the informal sector grew by over 12% in October. That would be the equivalent of 12,250 new jobs and experts believe that this number will continue to rise.  The unemployment rate increased mainly because of the wildcat strikes in the mining industry which directly affected some manufacturing firms as well. However, in construction, financial services, and trade, job creation grew by 4.7%, 4.3%, and 3.4% respectively.

There are Jobs in South Africa!

As can be witnessed by the high prices earned by the Morningside property for sale (and other sought after areas), there are jobs in South Africa in spite of the high unemployment rate. It is a matter of reigning in the problems why South Africans can’t get hired. The root cause many experts believe is a work attitude problem and lack of skills. Both can be addressed in the educational system should the government take a stand to teach the youth skills that can get them hired right after graduation.

Already the private sector has been doing its share in giving employment opportunities for disadvantaged youths. Last year 50 young unemployed youths from Cape Town were hired by big businesses to train for 3 months under a personal career enhancement and transformation program similar to the Harambee program. These specially chosen youths were picked based on their inability to get jobs because of poor interviews and skills training. Harambee is a national employment program targeting 10,000 youth becoming hirable in the next 2 years. Harambee is the concept of companies like Nando’s, Telesure, Hollard, Direct Axis, and Clientele – all big names in the South African business world.

Harambee began in 2011 and has already helped over 500 youths and has made commitment to help 3,000 more.  Qualifications to be a part of the program are simple. The youth has to show promise of being able to stay with a job for at least a year and work hard. The program takes care of the skills training and enhances the work attitude necessary to keep employer partners happy with the program.

Being a non-government initiative, the program has sought and found employers willing to hire first time workers provided they pass through the Harambee program.  Since 2011, the Harambee youths are doing well; they have proven the success of the program with 92% of them fulfilling their part of the agreement by retaining their jobs.