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Unemployment occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work. South Africa’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world. It is consistently measured above 20%. This is a national crisis that feeds two of the country’s other big socio-economic challenges: poverty and crime. With unemployment at an all-time high, it comes to me as no surprise that crime is a major consequential issue. 27.5% of the population faces despondency in the face of joblessness as of October 30, 2018.
The longer the unemployment goes on, the more difficult it becomes for the worker to find employment again — both because employers are wary of the long-time unemployed and also because, over time, unemployed workers lose job skills. Simply speaking, unemployed people have less money to spend, then businesses don’t profit as much, which can, in turn, lead to more unemployment—but there are social consequences as well. Secondly, The relationship between unemployment and poor health has been well documented.
The unemployed tend to have higher levels of impaired mental health including depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as higher levels of mental health hospital admissions, chronic disease, and premature mortality. Furthermore, this lack of employment results in high crime levels as well as a multitude of other problems which rear its head in unexpected ways.
Despite costly CCTV systems, crime has still managed to afflict almost everyone. Police haven’t eased our fears by stopping crime which raises further issues regarding the integrity and competency of our police service.
Consequently, many South Africans now seeking the protection services rendered by private security firms which has resulted in South Africa having one of the largest protection industries in the world. These are just some of the problems have arisen and could still possibly arise in the future.
The affected stakeholders include the general public, the South African police service, unemployed individuals , businesses, healthcare providers (hospitals and staff), protection services and the government. This problem is important to South Africans because we are a rainbow nation of all races and religions. By having such a high unemployment rate, it has a negative effect on our economy and hence, we are in “junk” status. Furthermore, it is important since it means people have a low standard of living. It is an indiction that people rely heavily on government grants which prevents infrastructure being built which, further perpetuates poverty and unemployment.
Under apartheid, state policy was used to remove black people from cities and to prevent them from acquiring skills or getting high-status jobs. This caused an oversupply of cheap black labour, which benefited the owners of business enterprises, particularly in agriculture and mining. Over time, these two industries have become more mechanised and capital-intensive, and less labor-intensive. This is an important historical factor that partly explains our current unemployment problem. However, these reasons are not sufficient to explain our high unemployment rate. Several other countries have transitioned from primarily agricultural or resource-based economies without these levels of unemployment. Also, South Africa experienced a long period of economic growth from the mid-1990s until the 2008 global recession. This was not a period of jobless growth. Instead, what happened is that the net rate at which people entered the labour market exceeded the rate of job creation. This led to a situation of having both more employed people and more unemployed people simultaneously. However, historical reasons are not sufficient to explain our high unemployment rate. The finance and services sectors have increased substantially in the recent past. Yet the finance sector, in particular, tends to employ highly skilled people. An important factor to consider is the mismatch between the skills distribution in our society and the skills distribution that our economy seems to need. This is also visible in the ever-widening earnings distribution that is driven by extremely high wage growth for people with a tertiary qualification. The inadequate conditions of the South African education system further perpetuate the education gap and lack of skills in the country.
My mother is currently employed, as a teacher, at an underprivileged school, Avoca Primary, which is situated in the Avoca area. They have an average of forty to fifty, grade one to seven learners that are crammed into classrooms without adequate ventilation or space. This leads to an non-conductive learning environment that has a substantial negative impact on the learning ability and future of these children. I feel passionate about the problem of unemployment because these children are not given a fair opportunity to succeed however, it’s through no fault of their own. It’s ingrained in them from a young age that learning or school isn’t a priority since the schools they attend are derelict and underfunded. This forces them into the devastating cycle of poverty that could possibly consume their whole lives, as they were never given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Secondly, many of the students at the school have parents who don’t pay the school fee’s, of R400, for the year. This happens because the parents cannot afford it or they are irresponsible. Regardless, this illustrates that students have poor role models which further perpetuates their struggle to escape poverty as they have nothing to strive towards. After visiting the school and meeting many of the enthusiastic and energetic students, I learned that these children deserve a chance at a better life. While at Avoca Primary, the students and I played outside, read books and learnt. There was no distinction between myself and them, we were just kids having fun. However, many of them would go home and have far fewer luxuries than I would. Many of them had scabies, no lunch during the day and no books or stationary. It changed my perspective on how people deserve to be treated.
I sincerely believe that everyone has the potential to become someone great however, I came to the stark realisation that many of these students would not pass their final NSC exams and therefore, contribute to the unemployment rate and experience all the negatives associated with it. This refocused my view of the world because Crawford College La Lucia is a picture-perfect school life in comparison to the hardships other learners might face. This is what sparked my concern regarding the education system and the consequences of unemployment.
My secret super power is resilience. Resilience can be described as accepting that life does get hard at times and does change. It’s about being able to change, ask for help and keep going. This superpower will help me to persevere in solving the problem of unemployment. I know it won’t be easy, but I believe that I will succeed. It’s with this mind set that I will be able to accept failure and embrace change while allowing my to focus on my goal of a productive, employed and crime free South Africa.
Firstly, I have decided to help my maid and other unemployed maids find part time work. Our maid workers for us on every other day, which means she is free for two days in a work week. I approached her and asked if she would like to find work on her two ‘off’ days. She said she would appreciate it. Sweep South is an online freelancing website who’s mission is to create happy homes by providing dignified, flexible work at decent wages for their SweepStars. Training and digital and financial literacy and inclusivity are added benefits to those using their platform. We registered for this service and managed to get her a one day clean up at a house in Durban North. She was paid R220 and this was sufficient for her. She said that free-lancing was a great experience as she can now earn earn extra money to support her family back home. This model can be applied to other maids to hopefully find successful long term jobs which will decrease the unemployment rate and peoples dependance on the government.However, for the first few days we did not receive any offers of work but my resilience allowed me to cope with the failures and ensure my maid found a quality job opportunity.
Secondly, I will meet with street vendors in order to help them become established as actual shops in the future. This will decrease the unemployment rate as these vendors will become formal traders. Unemployment is also reduced as they could possibly hire other people, if their business grows which further decreases unemployment. My superpower will assist me as starting any business is hard and their will be failure. Therefore, by being resilient I will capitalise on opportunities which will allow me to be successful in decreasing unemployment.
Thirdly, I will perform market research with lower income individuals in order to understand their buying and spending habits. I will study actuarial science at the University Of Cape Town and attain my Masters in Business Administration (MBA). With these degrees and my work experience, I will start a non-profit organisation that deals with unemployment and the up-skilling of individuals. It will focus on computer literacy and basic numerical skills which will allow up-skilled individuals to work as shops clerks and cashiers. There will also be bursaries available for outstanding achievers which will allow them the opportunity to achieve a university degree, therefore removing them from the poverty cycle. My superpower will help me in becoming a qualified actuary. It is a degree that has a low attainment rate and is the highest level of mathematical statistics that one can get in the form of a degree. Therefore, by being resilient I will hopefully help many individuals out of their plight by up-skilling them.
Firstly, In order to ensure that my initiatives (refer to paragraph above) are a success, I will use my superpower of “resilience”. I haven’t received a reply back from Bill Gates regarding my request for funding, however I will persevere and possibly ask The Gift Of The Givers or other organisations for a donation. This will help me pay for university tuition or start other initiatives in order to reduce unemployment. I will also use my “resilience” to endure the hardships of Grade 12 and achieve the best marks possible which will allow me to fulfil my goal of attaining a MBA and eventually opening up a non-profit organisation.
Secondly, I will enlist the help of reliable, trustworthy people who share the same vision as me, to aid in my goal of reducing unemployment. They will ensure I do not become demotivated and visa versa. This will also allow us to brainstorm idea’s and solve problems more effectively. This means my initiatives will have a higher chance of success.
Thirdly, I will utilise skills I have learnt at school such as organisations and time management to ensure that all deadlines are met and projects are completed. This ensures that projects do not stagnate and lose momentum. This will also ensure that my energies are focused on the most pertinent of task (such as obtaining funding) rather than long term goals that may take years to complete (obtaining MBA for NPO).
Yashil Luckan – I choose Yashil to help me stop unemployment because of his unique skillset. He is hilarious with a wicked sense of humour. When taking the lifelong journey to stop unemployment, there needs to be a comic relief to keep the crew motivated. A motivated crew is one that performs to their full potential. Yashil also specialises in robotics and drone technology, which makes him an asset in reducing unemployment. He currently uses a Dji Maverick Drone which has advanced flight capabilities that would be useful in marketing of my initiatives.
Trevor Rajnarain – I chose my father to join this cause because of his engineering background. He has a creative mind which allows him to solve complex problems with out of the box thinking. Dirty work is second nature to him as he has worked on classic cars his whole life (he is a classic car collector) which showcases his ability to fix and create things. This will be useful if any technical problems occur during the push to reduce unemployment. With Yash’s technological expertise, they can solve a plethora of problems using their combined intellect.
Nesheen Jugdeo – I chose her to join us on our cause because of her calm personality. In critical situations, she has the people skills to calm the rest of the crew down and guide them to a solution. She also has the ability to develop a relationship every member of the team and ensure their emotional health is stable. She is also a business owner so she can guide and advise me in starting my non-governmental organisation.
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