Youth unemployment in Eldos: where are the opportunities?

by: Sarah Evans - 30 June 2017

Youth unemployment in Eldos: where are the opportunities?

Eldorado Park exploded in May this year. Residents protested over a lack of jobs and housing in the area. Their familiar complaint was: the youth in Eldos are involved in drugs and crime because of a lack of job opportunities.

According to Statistics SA, in Eldorado Park, only 40% of residents are employed. Poverty is rife, with the average annual income around R30 000 a year in the area. Only 31.2% of households have access to the internet, making the search for a job even more difficult. 36.5% of people completed matric or higher, lessening their chances of unemployment. With all of these challenges, where do young people go to find job opportunities? And what happens when corruption gets in the way of a young person’s employment possibilities? These were some of the issues discussed at a Corruption Watch event on Thursday. The panel was shared by participants from Livity Africa’s Project Demo and Harambee.  Ziyanda Stuurman from Project Demo raised the concern that women are often offered jobs in exchange for sexual favours. 

Young people also complained that job opportunities were only made known to people who were already connected to the local councillor or other local power brokers.

“Sometimes you are told that unless you are a member of the ANC Youth League, you will not get access to opportunities,” a participant said.

In addition to this, another common concern was lack of information about job opportunities in the area. 

Young people also tend to have unrealistic expectations of what to expect from the job market after they leave school.

Participants from Harambee advised young people that they needed to be prepared to work their way up the ladder, instead of expecting high salaries and fancy job titles from the beginning. Young people are also advised to seek volunteering opportunities. While these may not be paying jobs, they look very good on one’s CV and will make potential employers think you are taking ownership of your future.

Corruption is stealing opportunities of growth from the youth, but all is not lost. While much more needs to be done, organisations like Harambee and Livity Africa as well campaigns like Project Demo, help to empower young people. And corruption can be stopped: young people were encouraged to report corruption to the authorities or Corruption Watch, which takes up corruption cases on behalf of communities.

Project Demo finds the voices of young people in South Africa, amplifies their stories and turns their cause for change into a reality. Tell them your issue. They’ll take it on and campaign with you.