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South Africa: The big picture of its unemployment crisis, according to labour minister Nxesi

By Xolisa Phillip, in Johannesburg
Posted on Thursday, 2 September 2021 16:56

A student reads a book in Soweto, South Africa November 10, 2006. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA)

South Africa’s education requires a rethink to produce the type of skills that are responsive to the needs of its economy, labour minister Thulas Nxesi tells The Africa Report.

In a wide-ranging interview following the publication last week by Statistics South Africa of the country’s record high second quarter unemployment figures, Nxesi cites the education system as a key impediment to employment.

The labour minister also pointed to South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan as a practical solution out of the escalating joblessness, particularly among the youth.

  • In the second quarter of 2021, the country’s official unemployment rate rose to 34.4%, according to data published in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). That is the highest rate recorded since the start of the QLFS in 2008.
  • Most concerning, the joblessness rates among youth in the 15-25 and 25-34 brackets were 64.4% and 42.9% respectively.