673.2 Towards social justice and democracy: Unraveling South African youth in the education and labour market systems

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 11:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Jay GOVENDER , Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
South Africa’s 1955 Freedom Charter states that ‘South Africa belongs to all who live in it’. However, hardly anybody involved in the Charter would have appreciated the current quasi- federalist state, caught between a version of developmentalism and a financialized economy. The current state is at a profound distance from fulfilling earlier notions of social justice and democracy.

The state is showing evidence of dysfunction and failure. The ANC doubts the state’s capacity to manage its developmental duties. If institutional capacity is in doubt, then a number of risk factors threaten the state, including the inability to intervene in the key areas of education and labour market. Youth exit from a markedly weak educational system to a labour market that locks them to lengthy periods of structural unemployment.

The response by the state since 2007 was to introduce institutional reforms. In 2010, the Transformation of State and Governance spelled out the motivation, attributes, and structure of the development state. Then in 2011, the National Development Plan: Vision for 2030 elaborated on social and economic problems; and set targets for interventions. However, the reforms and plans have limits, which will be discussed.

The paper aims to examine how the ANC’s recent efforts facilitate improving the educational and labour market systems, thereby securing social justice and democracy. Both contradictions and the mutuality of education and the labour market and social justice and democracy will be discussed.

Notably, the emerging criticisms of the plan, in particular, that poverty will be eliminated, and inequality reduced by 2030, will remain one of greatest implementation challenges.

Conceptually, education and the labour market; social justice and democracy; and issues faced by youth will be discussed in simultaneity. Thereafter, the paper will attempt to establish what interventions may be possible in the three systems of analyses.