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New strategies needed to tackle high unemployment rate – Labour Minister

by Zopedol — last modified 2008-09-30 17:03

Released by Department of Labour on 03 April 2007

Released by Department of Labour on 03 April 2007

South Africa needs to adopt new strategies to deal with the high unemployment rate in the country. Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana says emphasis is on re-skilling and retraining of people in the labour market, especially unemployed youths.


The Minister was speaking in Beijing, China where he is currently on a visit to strengthen the cooperation agreed to by the two countries last year. He is accompanied by trade union and business representatives.


He told a meeting with leaders of All China Youth Federation that one of the challenges facing South Africa is creating sustainable jobs for the youth. He added that although the country’s economy is growing at an annual 5 percent rate, that growth is not generating jobs at this stage, with thousands graduates and matriculants filing the ranks of unemployed.


“A large part of this is historical. We need to refocus training of young people to produce the kind of cadre needed by the current times.


“In addition to existing programmes, my department has launched a project that will match skills to available jobs; avail the database to both job-seekers and employers to facilitate employment. This will include young people and retrenches. The latter will be retrained and reintroduced to the labour market.”


Like South Africa, China is faced with a high rate of unemployed youths. The two countries also have similar strategies in addressing skills shortages. They both have internships, skills levies and apprenticeships amongst others. But China has also enlisted commercial banks to assist young people set up businesses at low interest rates. An example South Africa hopes to emulate.


Secretary-General of the All China Youth Federation, Hu Chunhua said 4,9million graduates have no jobs.


“We’re faced with a shortage of skilled workers versus a surplus of workers who cannot find jobs because of a lack of required skills.


“In addition, close to 200million rural migrant young workers flock to the urban areas in search of work,” Hu said.


Hu said as China is still a developing country like South Africa, they are looking forward to forge better cooperation in dealing with common challenges.

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