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Budget fails to find unemployment crisis solutions

The African People First (APF) is spearheading an intensified campaign to restore people’s dignity.

As South Africa grapples with a troubling rise in unemployment, particularly among youth and graduates, the need for decisive action has never been more urgent.

The recent data from Stats SA paints a stark picture showing that at least 22 000 fewer individuals who are employed is exacerbating the already dire situation where millions live below the poverty line as they are deprived of opportunities and dignity.

This means that the situation is getting worse than being dealt with to build confidence of our people where they would believe that their needs are being attended to.

More issues of importance in this regard ranges from crisis in the logistics sector to declining revenue in key industries like mining and manufacturing.

There is a need for more decisive action which needed to be taken to address the plight faced by the identified industries.

The recent data paints a grim picture of economic decline and stagnation through underscoring the urgency for innovative solutions, visionary leadership, and meaningful reforms that prioritize the well-being of all South Africans.

It’s evident that unemployment is not just an economic issue; it’s a social crisis with far-reaching consequences. The correlation between unemployment and social ills like crime, substance abuse and gender-based violence is undeniable. Therefore, tackling unemployment is not merely about generating jobs, however, it’s about restoring hope, dignity and security to millions of lives.

In this context, the AFP believes that efforts and attempts to alleviate and quest for job creation addresses the root causes of unemployment while empowering marginalized communities.

One of APF’s flagship initiatives is its farming programme such as Cassava cultivation, pig farming and fishing. By providing training, resources, and support, APF enables individuals to participate in sustainable agricultural practices, not only generating income but also fostering self-reliance and food security, while empowering communities.

Amidst these daunting challenges, there are glimmers of hope embedded within the recent budget speech. The provisional allocations of R35 billion in 2025/26 and R36.7 billion in 2026/27 to extend the Covid-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant beyond March 2025 demonstrate a commitment to supporting those most vulnerable in our society during these turbulent times.

In Addition, the increases in social grants, including boosts to old age, war veterans, disability, care dependency, foster care, and child support grants, will provide much-needed relief to nearly 19 million South Africans who rely on these vital lifelines.

While these measures are commendable, it is imperative that we do not lose sight of the critical issues that continue to plague our nation. The crisis in our logistics sector and the decline in revenue from key sectors are symptoms of deeper systemic problems that require urgent attention. We cannot afford to merely address the symptoms; we must tackle the root causes of economic instability head-on.

Moreover, APF recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship in driving economic growth and empowering marginalized groups. Through business and skills development programs, particularly targeted at women and youth, APF equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and mentorship needed to navigate the business world successfully.

Additionally, APF’s free job placement and recruitment program play a crucial role in connecting job seekers with employment opportunities while assisting companies in finding skilled and reliable employees. By bridging the gap between employers and job seekers, APF contributes to reducing unemployment and promoting economic stability.

However, addressing South Africa’s unemployment crisis requires a collective effort. While organizations like APF play a significant role, sustainable solutions necessitate collaboration between government, private sector, civil society, and communities. Policymakers must implement conducive economic policies, invest in education and skills development, and create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and job creation.

Ultimately, the fight against unemployment isn’t just about statistics; it’s about transforming lives and building a more inclusive and prosperous society. Through concerted action and unwavering commitment, we can pave the way for a brighter future, where every South African has the opportunity to thrive with dignity and purpose.

In conclusion, while there are positive aspects to be acknowledged, we must hold our government accountable for addressing the fundamental issues facing our nation. Transparency, accountability, and good governance are non-negotiable prerequisites for progress. It is only through collective effort and unwavering determination that we can strive to build a South Africa where dignity, opportunity, and prosperity are accessible to all. Let us stand united in this endeavor, driven by a shared vision of a brighter future for our beloved nation.

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