South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged companies here to go out of their way to employ young graduates as a way of growing the country’s economy.Addressing his first Youth Day commemoration since taking over as head of state in February, Ramaphosa said the employment of young graduates would not place a great burden on individual companies.
“On this Youth Day, we call on all companies – both in the public and private sector – to make a deliberate effort to seek out unemployed graduates and employ them,” Ramaphosa said.
He said this would significantly reduce youth unemployment, “while bringing much needed skills and capacity into the economy.”
“Employers need to understand that for our country to succeed, for their businesses to thrive, they must take responsibility for providing young people with the work experience they need,” the president said.
Ramaphosa’s comments come on the back of National Youth Development Agency chairperson Sifiso Mtshweni’s call for companies to stop using experience as a barrier to youth employment.
“They must realise that the only way to get work experience is to get work,” the president said, adding that the only way for South Africa to succeed was for the economy to grow at faster pace through investment.
Ramaphosa, a former workers’ union leader and trusted aide of Nelson Mandela after his release from prison, said the massive investment drive that he announced earlier in the year “aims to attract US$100 billion into our economy over the next five years.”