Who is fooling who?

Hey, “Mr Government”, I have a song that I’d like to suggest that you listen to. You should get your DJ to play it at your next party.

The song’s title is Who’s fooling who? I was introduced to this song by my uncle and I’ve taken a liking to it. I especially like the part that says “Are you fooling me or am I fooling you?” You should really listen to it I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Mr. Government let’s talk unemployed youth. Unemployment in South Africa not only affects the adults but also, us, as the youth as well. A lack of unemployment opportunities has caused many to fall into poverty. At the beginning of 1998, unemployment in South Africa was estimated at 45% although up to 80% of people in some communities were still unemployed.

The effects of unemployment are evident all around us, as the rate for unemployed blacks is 38% in comparison to the 4% whites.

For example, in Cape Town, whites and Asians reside relatively close to jobs, whereas coloureds and blacks are located at a much greater distance from most job locations. A person’s distance from the job market impairs his/her ability to search for a job and search costs are higher outside a worker’s zone of residence. Whites and Asians mostly use theirs cars to travel between home and work, whereas coloured and black people mainly resort to public transport and as such have longer commuting trips and incur relatively higher costs.

When adults in any neighbourhood are unemployed, they, in turn, cannot be the role models of social and professional success which we young people can identify with. Many jobs are found through personal contacts, but because of low and unskilled workers, young adults and ethnic minorities mostly reside in disadvantaged areas they do not benefit from a high-quality network of jobs.

An analysis of unemployment by age highlights how the burden of unemployment falls amongst the youth; young people between the ages of 15 and 34 accounted for nearly 72% of the unemployment total. We, young people, often also do not have the breadth of social networks from which our potential job offers can emanate due to limited previous work experience or the fact that many of us have never worked before. While active labour market policies such as the assistance in job searching is often targeted at the youth‚ many young people still lack the knowledge of how and where to look for employment. Access to financial resources may also limit the extent of job-search activities or further education of young people.

While we are unemployed there is an erosion of skills and the opportunity for the older workers to pass on the skills and expertise to us the younger people is lost. The lack of previous employment results in people not being eligible for unemployment benefits and leaves them more at risk than the average employed person of becoming involved in crime.

So, Mr. Government, again I ask who is fooling who? Are you fooling me by saying that I should stay in school get the education and you will make provision for me to get that job, or is it that I’m fooling you by getting the grades and believing that you will one day make a way for me and my friends and that we promise not to get involved in crime?

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