Unemployed Youth: South Africa’s ‘ticking-time bomb’ or ‘democratic dividend’

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Jayanathan GOVENDER , Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Young South African’s make up 72% of the unemployed. Organized labour’s reference to the problem as the ‘ticking-time bomb, has become an emblem attached to young people. Political and social comment insists that there is reason for alarm and consternation. Even government planners refer to youth unemployment as ‘the greatest threat to social cohesion’ and the ‘single greatest risk to social stability in South Africa’.

Amidst this dark discourse, government believes that young South Africans may in fact become a ‘democratic dividend’, rather than present any immediate risk or future threat.

The paper will analyze both claims for their respective merits. It will locate the analysis within an educational and labour market framework. However, given such a framework, there is disagreement about the role of education in preparing young people for the labour market.