One per cent of South Africa’s budget would be set aside to assist with youth employment, President Cyril Ramaphosa said during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday night.

 “This will be through top slicing from the budget, which will require that we all tighten our belts and redirect resources to address the national crisis of youth unemployment,” he said. The initiative would be prioritised when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his medium term budget policy statement later in the year.

South Africa’s current youth unemployment rate is estimated at about 53%, according to Statistics South Africa.

Ramaphosa said the initiative was one of six “priority actions” spanning five years to reduce youth unemployment. The initiative would start immediately he said, under the banner of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the state of the nation address in Parliament.
Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Ramaphosa said the six actions would ensure that the capabilities of every young South African was “harnessed”, enabling them to contribute to the growth of the country.

“We are building cutting-edge solutions to reach young people where they are – online, on the phone and in person. This will allow them to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities.”

He said that starting this month, government was launching five prototype sites in five province “that will grow to a national network reaching three million young people through multiple channels”.

The network would allow young people to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities.


“We are fundamentally changing how we prepare young people for the future of work, providing shorter, more flexible courses in specific skills that employers in fast-growing sectors need. We are developing new and innovative ways to support youth entrepreneurship and self-employment,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are scaling up the youth employment service and working with TVET colleges and the private sector to ensure that more learners receive practical experience in the workplace to complete their training. We are establishing the first cohort of a presidential youth service programme that will unlock the agency of young people and provide opportunities for them to earn an income while contributing to nation building.”

As part of the intervention, he said, the National Youth Development Agency and the department of small business development would provide grant funding and business support to 1,000 young entrepreneurs in the next 100 days, “starting today”.