An economy without barriers to participation would enable government to play a catalyst role instead of being the only supplier of opportunities. In turn this would mean young people from low-income households could benefit from better schools, safer neighbourhoods, and more economic security. In return, these children are less likely to require government assistance and are more likely to contribute to the economy.

I will continue to be critical of those who try to justify an economy that continues to exclude the bulk of its youth by preserving the comfort of a few. Their actions are morally and socially irresponsible.

I wonder as you do, why none in the political leadership of the country – not just the ruling ANC – have talked about advancing development activities that create more job opportunities for youth across different sectors. It is too obvious for words that for an economy to be more inclusive of youth, it’s important to create training programmes specifically tailored for youth. Providing youth with the education and skills they need to participate in the productive economy and involving them in policy design is key for their inclusion in national development.

One way we start tackling youth unemployment is by clearing the path from being students to the world of work. South Africa must improve the quality and status of vocational education and training – this will provide an alternative route into work for young people who do not go to university and also support mobility and progression in the labour market.

If we are concerned, as I hope we are, about fairness, moving the country forward past the political rhetoric, ending poverty and inequality, we will start by making sure that our youth – those on the lowest rungs of our society’s ladder – are brought in to build a more inclusive economic future.

For our great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren’s sake, let us hope history will not recall us as “parents who stole their children’s future in broad daylight to quench their own thirst”.